Red Panda 
 
 
Scientific Name:
Ailurus fulgens
Other Names and/or Listed subspecies:
Lesser Panda, Red Cat-bear, Tolai Hare
Group:
Mammals
Status/Date Listed as Endangered:
VU-IUCN: 2008
Area(s) Where Listed As Endangered:
Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Nepal

The red panda is also known as the red bear-cat or the lesser panda. It is native to areas east of the Himalayas and Southwest of China. It is a member of the Ailuridae family. The red panda is roughly the size of the domestic cat but is relatively longer and heavier. Its head and body measures approximately 17 to 25 inches while its tail is 10 to 23 inches long. It weighs about 8.0 to 13.7 lbs with the males being slightly larger than the females. The red panda is red to brown in color and has a long, shaggy tail. It has a round head, with pointed ears that are big and a snout that is short. It has a white face with reddish-brown tear marks starting from the eyes to the corners of the mouth. It walks with short steps in a clumsy swaying way usually due to its shorter forelimbs. It is active during the early hours of the morning (dawn) and late afternoon and is solitary unless during the mating season.

Unlike other mammals, the red panda's diet consists mainly of bamboo, although when it is warm, red pandas may also eat fruits, insects, grasses, roots, lichens, leaves, mushrooms and acorns. It feeds on every part of the bamboo plant except the roots but has a preference for the youngest leaves and shoots which are usually tender. The red panda lives on tree tops in high-latitude rainy forests in temperate climatic areas in coniferous and deciduous forests. However it is located in several other habitats. Geographically, you can find the red panda north of Burma, in Central China and Nepal mountains and in Northeastern India in Meghalaya Plateau. Mating takes place in early winter, and the young are often born in summer and spring (mostly in June). Several days before bearing down, the expectant female prepares a nest for her offspring using grasses, leaves and sticks. However, in the wilderness a nest may be a hollow tree or a gap within a rock. After a gestation period 135 days, a litter of one to four young is born. The young reach adult size at the end of the first year and attain sexual maturity at the 18th month of their life.

The red panda is listed as "endangered" and is threatened by fragmentation and habitat loss and degradation, advancement of human settlement as a result of increases in population, natural disasters such as landslides, cyclones, floods, heavy rainfall and fall of snow, forest fires, and disease outbreaks among others. There are about 10,000 or less red pandas remaining in the world and this number is believed to be declining yearly. Some of the actions taken to save the species include conservation through protected areas, and in Burhan, there are legal measures established to protect the species. Creation of a Global Species Management Plan and improvement of awareness through different mediums has also helped in protecting the species.




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Wikipedia Article
Copyright Notice: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Red panda".

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