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Red Panda
   
   

Order : CARNIVORA
Family : Ailuridae
Species : Ailurus fulgens

Head-body length : up to 63 cm
Tail length :  up 48 cm
Weight : up to 6 kg

The unique Red Panda is the sole member of the genus Ailurus in the family Ailuridae, whose closest relatives probably became extinct at least 3 million years ago. It inhabits mixed montane forest, including areas with significant stands of bamboo.

Within Southeast Asia there appear to be confident records only from the extreme north of Myanmar (Burma), where it inhabits mountainous regions in the extreme east of the Himalayas, between 1800 and 4000 metres elevation. Its broader distribution is centred on southern China, north-eastern India, Nepal and Bhutan.

It is not impossible that this mammal also occurs in warmer, montane parts of Southeast Asia, such as northern Laos, but this remains unproven (Duckworth, 2011).

This carnivoran is mainly nocturnal in habits and is predominantly, but not exclusively, arboreal, sometimes coming to the ground to feed. Its diet comprises a wide range of vegetation, such as fruits, roots, grasses and bamboo shoots, as well as small vertebrates and their eggs. It is mainly solitary, except during the breeding season.

With its reddish orange fur and white ears, muzzle and cheeks, the Red Panda is unmistakeable in appearance. Its body is stocky, its face is round, and its tail is long, bushy and is patterned with pale rings. Sadly, this beautiful mammal is under threat from habitat loss and poaching.

The Giant Panda, which does not occur within Southeast Asia, is considered to be a member of the bear family Ursidae, to which the Red Panda was formerly assigned.


Fig 1 : The Red Panda is an adept climber, and is largely arboreal.

Fig 2 : The ears, muzzle, cheeks and eyebrows are white.

Image attribution :
Fig 1 by photosforclass.com is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 1.0 Generic license.
 

Links :

Red Panda Network


References : M5

Duckworth, J. W. (2011). Records and reports of Red Pandas Ailurus fulgens from areas with warm climates. IUCN/SSC Small Carnivore Red List Authority Focal Point. In Red Panda (pp. 419-434).

Fig 1
  

 
Fig 2