During the third Saturday in September, International Red Panda Day dedicates a day to learning about red pandas. These adorable mammals live in the trees of the Himalaya Mountains. However, they are endangered. The global red panda population has declined by 50% in 20 years and there may be as few as 2,500 remaining in the wild.
Red pandas are much smaller than the more familiar black and white pandas. In fact, red pandas are not related to giant pandas at all. They weigh between 12 to 20 pounds, which is about the size of a housecat. Red pandas help to keep forests healthy, the water clean, and the ecosystem vibrant. Saving the red panda helps combat global climate change as well as protect the ecological integrity of South Asia.
They were discovered in 1825, before the giant panda.
Other names for the red panda include bear-cat, firefox or Himalayan raccoon.
Red panda's have six digits on their front paws.
They spend two-thirds of the day sleeping.
Red pandas are endemic to the Himalayas in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar (Burma) and southern China. They mostly live in the eastern Himalayan temperate broadleaved bamboo forest.
They have a tail almost as long as their body and they use it as wraparound blankets in their chilly mountain habitat.
Primarily an herbivore, the name panda is said to come from the Nepali word ‘ponya,’ which means bamboo or plant eating animal. Found in Nepal, northeastern India, Bhutan and southern Tibet. Red pandas are normally solitary creatures but come together in pairs in the breeding season.
Because of deforestation, poaching, and the illegal pet trade, red pandas are endangered. Red pandas are often killed when they get caught in traps meant for other animals such as wild pigs and deer. They are also poached for their distinctive pelts in China and Myanmar. Red panda fur caps or hats have also been found for sale in Bhutan.
Sources: redpandanetwork.org, nationaldaycalendar.com, worldwildlife.org
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