The Red Panda is the most elusive of the wild animals found in the world. A predominant inhabitant of the Himalayas, Red Panda has been listed as the most endangered species due to major loss of its habitat and human encroachment. It is one of the most protected wild species in Nepal, India & China.
COMMON NAME: Red Panda
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ailurus fulgens
AVERAGE LIFE SPAN IN THE WILD: 8 years
SIZE: Head and body, 20 to 26 in; tail, 12 to 20 in
WEIGHT: 12 to 20 lbs
The Red Panda or Red-bear cat is a mammal of Ailuridae family found mostly in the Eastern Himalayas. Almost 38% of the total population is found inside Nepal. It has reddish-brown fur, a long, shaggy tail, and a waddling gait due to its shorter front legs; it is slightly larger than a domestic cat.
It lives in the trees, feeds mainly on bamboo. Due to its omnivore nature, it seldom feeds on bird eggs, birds, and insects. It is a solitary animal, hence, its sightings is one of the rarest among the entire wildlife.
It has been listed under the Endangered species by IUCN, due to its dwindling population. Human encroachment has been the major cause for its habitat loss.
Habitat & Breeding
They reside in the rainy and high-altitude forests, similar to Giant Pandas, in the mountains of Nepal and northern Myanmar (Burma), as well as in central China.
They spend most of their lives in trees and even sleep aloft. When foraging, they are most active at night as well as in the gloaming hours of dusk and dawn.
Red pandas are known to have a sweet tooth for bamboo, however, they feed on fruits, acorns, roots and eggs as well.
They are obscure animals except when mating. Females generally give births in the spring and summer, typically one to four cubs at a time. Young red pandas remain in their nests for about 90 days, and are solely nurtured by mother pandas.
- Only about 10,000 Red Pandas are estimated to be living in the wild.
- China has the largest known population of Red Pandas. About 42% of the entire population is found inside the protected regions of China.
- Even though they were placed in the Racoon and Bear family before, the extensive research has proved they are unique species and have since been placed in the Ailuridae family.
- Red Panda is the only surviving member of the Ailuridae family.
- There are over 86 protected areas inside China, India, Myanmar and Nepal dedicated to the conservation of the Red Panda.
- There are only two recognized species of Red Panda, namely; Ailurus fulgens fulgens and Ailurus fulgens styani.
- Red pandas have a long gestation period (roughly 135 days) for an animal that weighs only 11 pounds at maturity.