International Red Panda Day: Why People Should Care about Red Panda Family
National red panda day is fast approaching, and so now more than ever is the perfect time to educate yourself on the beautiful animal. From why, they are important in the wild to their specific characteristics and habitat, as well as the numerous threats they are facing in the wild. There are so many interesting, weird and wonderful red panda facts that many people are not even aware of.
The truth is that these species are very precious to nature and to the health and future of our ecosystems, but are also suffering greatly from threats as a result of human behavior. If you are interested in observing national red panda day and all its stands for, then the first step is to be aware of why you are actually celebrating it in the first place.
What Is a Red Panda?
Before we get into the many factors that have led us to create international red panda day, let’s get to know a little bit more about what a red panda actually is. Red pandas are actually relatively small mammals that have very long and fluffy tails with red and white markings. One would think that they are closely related to the same-named species “giant panda” but in fact, this isn’t true. Although the two have similarities, they are vastly different in a number of aspects. Red pandas have actually been classified as relatives of raccoons, largely due to physical similarities such as head, teeth, and ringed tail.
When Were Red Pandas Discovered?
Red pandas were first discovered in the year 1825, way before the first black and white panda was ever even seen. They were discovered by a French zoologist named Frederic Cuvier, who described his discovery as the most beautiful animal he had ever seen and compared it to a fire-colored, shining cat. The first panda was discovered only in 1869 when they were given the same name due to some recognizable similarities.
Where Do Red Pandas Live?
So where are red pandas from, and where can we find them today? Red pandas live exclusively in the Eastern Himalayas in many places including China, Nepal, and Bhutan. They prefer to spend most of their time curled up in the heights of the trees, where they keep warm and hidden from predators. They are natives of Asia’s high forests and have adapted perfectly to the exact weather conditions it brings along with it. They rely on a lot of the ecosystem and habitat of such places, but also have a wider range of motion than typical pandas do.
Why Are Red Pandas Called Pandas?
Ok, let’s settle this debate once and for all why are red pandas called pandas when they are not remotely related? The red panada scientific name is Ailurus Fulgens but got its name panda from the Nepali word ‘ponya’ which means bamboo or plant-eating animal. Actual pandas were only discovered a lot later but possessed the same eating quality as the red panda and thus were named the same. Only later was it discovered that the red panda was not actually a species of panda and was actually more closely related to other types of animals. So are red pandas related to pandas at all? The answer is no they are not relatives, cousins, brothers, or sisters, they are completely different animal species that happen to pose some qualities that are similar. Are red pandas related to raccoons? Red pandas are described as members of the raccoon family but are also closely related to skunks and weasels. This has a lot to do with physical characteristics and studies of evolution.
The Red Pandas Characteristics
Red pandas have very specific physical characteristics that make them really stand out from most of the animals in their surroundings. Firstly, red pandas are very small and of a similar house to any regular house cat. They have very large round heads with short snouts and large pointed ears. Their coats are a brown and red color with white lined shaped markings across their faces, which extend from the corner of their mouths to their eyes. The red panda tail is long and bushy that consists of alternating red and white rings. They also have very sharp and long claws, perfect for gripping them up and down the peaks of the trees.
The Red Panda Habitat and Diet
Red pandas live in the mountains of Nepal, central china, and the northern regions of Myanmar. They thrive in a rainy, high-altitude forest, both temperate and tropical. One of the most important things to note about a red panda and its habitat is bamboo. Bamboo is the one thing they will look for when trying to find a place to settle, as this is the resource they need for survival. So do red pandas eat bamboo? Well yes, bamboo makes up for around 85-95 percent of their entire diet. So what do red pandas eat? Red pandas eat bamboo leaf tips, bamboo shoots, and bamboo stems. They will also forage in the grass as munch on things such as grasses and fallen fruit and on rare occasions will hunt for eggs, insects, smaller mammals, and birds.
Red Pandas Behavior
Are Red pandas nocturnal? Yes, red pandas are considered to be crepuscular, meaning active at night and asleep during the day, however, they are also partial to being awake at both.They are solitary animals, meaning they choose to fend for themselves and avoid being social and traveling in groups. Male red pandas are very territorial and mark their territory by unleashing a strong odor from a scent gland located at the base of their tail (similar to a skunk). That scent is used to scare off predators, but they are also not afraid to use their claws by standing on their two back feet. The red panda family spends most of their days in the trees, eating and sleeping. They can also be completely dormant during the coldest part of the winter months and can often be found in small balls at the top of the trees as close to the sunlight as possible.
Red Panda Baby
When it comes to their offspring, red pandas tend to give birth during the spring and summer months of the year. They have a gestation period of around 114-145 days, however, this could be shorter or longer. In preparation for their babies, female red pandas build nesting areas in stumps and hollow trees in which they line with grass, leaves, twigs, small and small branches. Female red pandas can have anywhere between one and four young babies, which are known as cubs. Cubs cannot hear nor see until they are around three wells of age and are nursed by their mother until they reach 22 weeks old.
Are Pandas Endangered?
The red panda conservation status is listed as endangered and has been put on the red list of Threatened Species. So, how many red pandas are left? It is believed that there are only around 2,500 red pandas left in the entire world. This is a massive decline of around 50 percent in the red population over the past 18-25 years. There are a number of different reasons as to why this decline is happening, and a big reason as to why we celebrate international panda day. Most of the reason for the unfortunate decline is deforestation. With all their habitat being lost or used for human advantage, they have no place to live and no resources to keep them alive. Hunting has also been a problem and the rarer the animal becomes, the more illegally, and fiercely it is hunted.
Red Panda Day
International red panda day will be celebrated on the third Saturday in September, in which organizations and groups will dedicate the day to making campaigns, bringing awareness, and teaching others about the current threats red pandas are facing in the wild. There are many ways that you can get on board the celebrations too. Giving donations to organizations that are trying to make a difference will help in the long run. Educating others by posting on social media and using the widest platform you have will also be useful. There are also many activities, campaigns, and marches organized by organizations around the world.
Red Panda FAQ
To help you understand even more about why we celebrate and observe red panda day, here are some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers.
- Where are red pandas located? You can find red pandas in the Himalayas of Nepal, central China, and many surrounding regions.
- What is a group of red pandas called? A group of red pandas is known as a pack.
- What is the red panda life span?Red pandas can live as long as 23 years, but start to show symptoms of old age between 12-14 years.
- Are red pandas friendly? The typical red panda temperament is typically more aggressive, this is because they spend most of their time asleep and don’t interact with people at all.
- How big is a red panda? Red pandas are relatively small animals and are only about the size of an average household cat. They usually weigh between 8-17 pounds and are about 23 inches long.
- Are red panda carnivores? Red pandas are herbivores meaning that they feed mostly on plants but on rare occasions, they will include other resources.
- What sound does a red panda make? They use sounds to communicate. These sounds are mostly very quiet and consist of squeals, twitters, and huff quacks.
- What are the red panda predators? Red panda predators include birds of prey and other small mammals, however, their main predator is the snow leopard.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are many important reasons as to why we choose to celebrate international red panda day. Now that you have learned all about the red panda rainforest, its habits, characteristics, and unfortunate threats, you can be part of the observation of red pandas too.
They are such important species for many aspects of our planet, including the future of us as humans.
So when Saturday approaches grab your books, signs, and petition slip, and let’s start saving the remainder of the red panda population.
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