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Red panda: description, habitat, threats, conservation and other

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Red pandas are small mammals that are the only living member of the family Ailuridae. Their specific name is Ailurus fulgens. The Red panda communicates using the body language and different types of sound, they even use a specific whistle to alert others about the upcoming danger! Their status is endangered, with only 10,000 Red pandas left in the wild. Red pandas have large round heads and short snouts with large, pointed ears.

Their fur is reddish-brown in color, and their faces are mostly white with reddish ‘tear tracks’. They are similar to the size of a common house cat, which are 51 to 66 centimeters long from head to rump. They weight about 4.5 to 9 kilograms. Like the giant pandas, Red Pandas have a modified wrist bone that acts like a thumb, helping them grasp bamboo when feeding. Red pandas live in the mountains of Nepal and northern Myanmar (Burma), as well as in central China, in rainy, high-altitude temperate forests or in tropical forests. They spent most of their lives in trees. Red panda is an omnivore, which means they eat both plants and animals. They eat as much as 200 000 leaves of bamboo per day! Red Pandas mostly eats bamboo, but it also consumes other food such as fruit, roots, eggs and small mammals.

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Female Red Pandas give birth in the spring or summer, usually to one to four young. The baby red pandas are called cubs. Cubs remain in their nests for about 90 days, during the time when their mother cares for them. Red Pandas live up to 23 years.

Threats

Snow Leopards and Martens are the main predators of the Red Panda. Humans poach Red Pandas for their fur, coats and skin. In China, a Red Panda’s tail is considered good luck and is often used in weddings, which will affect the population greatly as many of them will be killed by the process. Humans cut down trees, the Red Panda’s habitat, unnecessarily to make more paper. Without homes, Red Pandas are forced to move into more isolated areas of the forest that lack bamboo. The Red Panda’s nutrition levels would be lower, and they will die.

Conservation

People had made it illegal to poach Red Pandas. If they poach red pandas, they may get fined or go to jail! In Nepal, the Red Panda Network is working with forest guardian, to help monitor the red panda’s habitat. They also help to increase more awareness about Red Pandas among several local communities.

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