Why the red panda is in danger of extinction

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The red panda bear, lesser panda or red raccoon, scientifically called Ailurus fulgens It is an animal that little by little is becoming more known around the world. It is an animal with a fur that attracts attention and is adorable and funny looking, since it has an appearance that mixes that of a panda bear with that of a raccoon and even a fox.

It has been in danger of extinction since the 90s and its situation, for the moment, does not seem to improve. The answer to why the red panda is in danger of extinction is that all the reasons are because of the actions of humans. If you want to know details about the characteristics of the red panda bear, including the complete answer to your risk situation, keep reading this Green Ecologist article where you will find everything you are looking for.

Red panda family and subspecies

It is generally known simply as a red panda or lesser, but there are areas where it is called little panda, boy panda, red raccoon or red panda bear, although it must be taken into account that in reality not a bear (family Ursidae), so that despite its similarities in various aspects it is not related to the giant panda, nor is it a raccoon (family Procyon). In recent scientific studies it has been shown that it has no direct relationship with the panda and has given it a family of its own, Ailuridae, which is why the lesser panda is known as ailúrido. In addition, there are two subspecies of this animal: Ailurus fulgens fulgens or western or lesser red panda and Ailurus fulgens styani or red panda styans or greater.

Males weigh between 4.5 kg and 6 kg and females between 3 kg and 4.5 kg, so in size they are often compared to a medium-sized domestic cat. Its height is between 30 cm and 60 cm at the withers and its coat is reddish brown color, with some areas of the face and ears lighter and others such as the belly and legs darker. Its thick and bushy tail, with rings in lighter brown tones, helps it to warm up in cold weather and cover itself for sleep, as well as to have balance and to hold on well in the branches of the trees. It has partially retractable claws and a false thumb, an extension of the wrist bone, which helps it grip well on branches.

They are solitary animals and being adults only relate to mate. Females give birth between 1 and 4 pups in spring and summer, but males are not interested in offspring. Thus, it is also the solitary females that raise their young in the den for 90 days.

Red panda habitat, where does it live?

The Ailurus fulgens lives in the high-altitude jungles of the Asian continent and it shares habitat areas for the giant panda, but the smallest is more widespread in the territory. Its habitat is the mountains of northern Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, the central and southern regions of China, and the northeastern part of India. Although it is spread over different areas of four countries, its size and population density have been greatly reduced.

The nightlife of the lesser panda in the trees

These animals have a night life, it is when they are most active, and they sleep during the day, so they go out to look for food from dusk to dawn.

Are arboreal animalsThey live practically all the time up to the trees and go down only if it is really necessary. Therefore, they always sleep, feed and interact in the trees and, for this reason, they evolved developing special claws and tail for this type of life.

Red panda diet

Are omnivorous animals and one of its main foods is the bamboo, but they also eat roots, fruits, fruits, especially acorns, eggs, insects and, in times that may need extra protein intake, some birds and small mammals.

The red panda is in danger of extinction, why?

According to various studies that have been carried out over the last two decades, red pandas have been in danger of extinction since the 90s. In fact, studies are still being carried out and currently around some 2,500 mature adult individuals in the wild, a fairly low figure although, of course, there are more specimens in captivity.

Some of the studies that have been carried out and that can offer us data such as when this species began to be threatened and details about its characteristics are the following:

  • The study by Bing Su, Yunxin Fu, Yingxiang Wang, Li Jin and Ranajit Chakraborty on "Genetic Diversity and Population History of the Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) as Inferred from Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Variations" and published in Molecular Biology and Evolution, volume 18, number 6, June 1, 2001, pages 1070-1076.
  • The study carried out by Fuwen Wei, Zuojian Feng, Zuwang Wang and Jinchu Hu on Current distribution, status and conservation of wild red pandas Ailurus fulgens in China ” and published in Biological Conservation Volume 89, Issue 3, August 1999, Pages 285-291.

In the latter we can see that in the mid-90s the habitat of this species in China had decreased considerably and, therefore, the number of its individuals. Specifically, in the provinces of Gansu, Qingahi, Shaanxi and Guizhou they were already extinct. Today the negative impact on this species is even greater and its situation has worsened to the point that humans have deforested more than 50% of the red panda's habitat and hunted it to capture it alive and sell it to zoos and as an animal. company, something illegal in various countries of the world.

However, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species indicates that this species in 2008 was considered in vulnerable statusIn other words, it had begun to recover, leaving behind the state of danger, but it also estimated that the population trend was decreasing, losing volume year after year. Therefore, when the information is updated, it is likely that this small mammal has returned to the state of danger, especially seeing the most recent figures of its population in the wild.

Some people wonder what the price of the red panda is because they want to buy this animal to have as a pet, something that is a big mistake since it has not been domesticated at any time and needs to live in freedom to prosper. In a house we cannot offer it the conditions it needs to be healthy, physically and mentally, nor to be able to reproduce and survive properly.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why the red panda is in danger of extinctionWe recommend that you enter our category of Endangered Animals.

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