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Sikkim SA

Sikkim – Red Panda

Red Panda

Common Name: Red Panda/Firefox

Local Name: Hun-ho (Chinese)

Scientific Name: Ailurus fulgens fulgens (Himalayan red panda) and Ailurus fulgens styani (Chinese red panda).

Description: Often referred to as the ‘lesser panda’, the red panda is a small, tree-dwelling mammal, that lives in the high-altitude mountain forests of India, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, and southwestern China. Red Pandas are the only living member of their own taxonomic family – Ailuridae. The rusty red fur of the red pandas serves as camouflage and helps to hide these pandas from their predators. Their thick and bushy ringed tail also helps them to maintain their balance and keep their bodies warmer during winter. The Red Pandas are primarily ‘bamboo eaters’ and they possess a ‘pseudo thumb’ which helps them to grab the stem and branches of bamboo trees. In addition to bamboo, they also feed on fruits, acorns, berries, lichens, birds, insects, and other small mammals.

Threats: Poaching, illegal hunting, trafficking, deforestation, habitat loss, and fragmentation are some of the threats faced by the red pandas. Besides this, their low birth rate and high mortality also contribute to their steady population decline.

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