Researchers recently confirmed that the red panda is actually 2 different species using genetic data. This increases the imperative for conservation efforts.
The red panda is an endangered species of arboreal mammal. It is found in the Himalayan region and in south-western China. Its range countries include India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Myanmar and China. In India, it is found in Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. It is the state animal of Sikkim.
- Conservation Status:
The red panda is listed as an endangered species. There are only few thousands of individuals and the discovery that there are 2 species implies that there are even fewer individuals per species. They are mainly threatened by habitat loss, poaching for fur, low genetic diversity due to inbreeding, etc. It is protected in all its range countries.
- Chinese Red Panda:
Chinese researchers had differentiated the two species of red panda using genetic data. One of them is the Chinese Red Panda. They have redder fur on the face with less white on it than the other species. The Chinese Red Panda also has more distinct tail rings. They are found in northern Myanmar, south-eastern Tibet and China’s Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.
- Himalayan Red Panda:
The other species of red panda is the Himalayan Red Panda. They are scarcer of the two species and found in Nepal, India, Bhutan and southern Tibet. The two species are said to have diverged when Yalu Zangbu River divided the population by acting as a geographical boundary.