Lesser panda, Red bear-cat, Red cat-bear
The Red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a small mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It is not closely related to the Giant panda, which is a bear, though both possess elongated wrist bones or "false thumbs" used for grasping bamboo.
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
Crepuscular animals are those that are active primarily during twilight (that is, the periods of dawn and dusk). This is distinguished from diurnal...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
In zoology, a folivore is a herbivore that specializes in eating leaves. Mature leaves contain a high proportion of hard-to-digest cellulose, less ...
Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In habitats in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some anima...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Polygynandry is a mating system in which both males and females have multiple mating partners during a breeding season.
Altitudinal migration is a short-distance animal migration from lower altitudes to higher altitudes and back. Altitudinal migrants change their ele...
Red pandas are approximately the size of a large housecat and have cat-like faces. Their rusty-colored fur is thick and covers their body except for their ears (almost white), cheeks, muzzle, and the spots above their eyes. Their dense fur keeps them warm during winter. Reddish-brown stripes run along both sides of their white muzzle, with dark and light rings on their long, bushy tails. They have woolly, thick fur on the bottoms of their feet, which serves to help keep their feet warm and prevent them from slipping on wet branches.
The range of Red pandas extends from northern Myanmar to western Nepal. They also live in the mountains of southwestern China (Sichuan, Xizang, and Yunnan provinces). They inhabit mountainous mixed deciduous and conifer forests, especially with old trees and dense understories of bamboo.
Red pandas are nocturnal and usually solitary. They sleep during the day high up in the tree canopy, wrapping their long, bushy tail around them to keep warm. Shortly after waking, Red pandas clean their fur somewhat like a cat would, licking their front paws and then rubbing their backs, torsos, and sides. They also rub their backs and bellies along the sides of trees or rocks. Then they patrol their territories, marking with urine and a weak musk-smelling secretion from their anal glands. They search for food running along the ground or through the trees. Red pandas may use their forepaws alternately to bring food to their mouths or place food directly into their mouths. Red pandas are generally quiet except for some twittering, tweeting, and whistling communication sounds.
Red pandas are polygynous; males and females may take more than one partner during a season, which is usually between January and March. After a gestation of around 4 months, 1-5 cubs are born. In preparation for the birth, the female constructs a nest inside a tree hollow. After a week, a female will spend more time out of the nest, coming back every few hours to groom and nurse the young and clean the nest. The cubs stay in the nest for about 90 days and are weaned at around 6-8 months old. They first leave the nest at night. They eat bamboo only until being old enough to digest other foods. The cubs can breed from around 18 months old but they become fully reproductively mature when they are 2 to 3 years old.
Red panda main threats are habitat degradation and loss due to deforestation. They are also hunted and poached and suffer from encounters with stray dogs. People, often children, sometimes disturb their habitat and try to catch an individual which sometimes causes their death, particularly if they are young.
According to Wikipedia, as of 2001, Red panda population estimates range between 16,000 and 20,000 individuals, including 3,000-7,000 individuals in China, 5,000-6,000 in India, and a few hundred in Nepal. Most of them live within national parks in small protected zones. The ICUN classifies the red panda as "Endangered”, with a decreasing population trend.
Red pandas have an important role in their ecosystem, controlling the populations they prey upon. They live in South Asia's middle mountains in forests which are the lungs of this area. If these forests are kept intact, the people, plants, and animals of South Asia can live healthy life.