Red panda Ailurus fulgens fulgens (EEP)
Life-span8–10 years in the wild
omnivorous (90% bamboo leaves, roots, small vertebrates, eggs, insects)
mountain forests with bamboo undergrowth
Asia (Himalayan chain: India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma)
The taxonomy of red pandas was long a subject of debate. Its resemblance to members of the raccoon and bear families meant it was sometimes classed in the Procyonidae and sometimes in the Ursidae family. Today it belongs to a family all of its own, the Ailuridae.
The front paws of red pandas have a long bone that acts like a thumb and allows them to clutch bamboo stalks more easily while they eat the leaves. To efficiently digest bamboo, which is low in protein and fat, they have to consume a large quantity every day and also choose the most nutritious available within their habitat.
Red panda breeding is strictly seasonal: mating takes place between January and mid-March, with births occurring after a 135-day pregnancy, generally during June or July.
At birth, the young weigh less than 130g and have thick beige and grey fur. They take on their definitive russet colour at about the age of 2 months. Their eyes open after 18 days but they only leave the nest at the age of 3 months. They reach their adult size at around a year of age and become sexually mature about 6 months later.
Red pandas live in the temperate forests of the Himalayas, at a altitude of 1,500–4,800 metres. Victims of the destruction of their habitat and of hunting, they are classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of endangered species.
Status in the wild (Source: IUCN)
- Not evaluatedNE
- Data deficientDD
- Least concernLC
- Near threatenedNT
- Critically endangeredCR
- Extinct in the wildEW