Red Pandas: Playing in the Snow – 1-27-17
The red panda (Ailurus fulgens, lit. “shining cat”), is a small arboreal mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China and related to raccoons, skunks and weasels. It is the only extant species of the genus Ailurus and the family Ailuridae. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, it has reddish-brown fur, a long, shaggy tail, and a waddling gait due to its shorter front legs. It feeds mainly on bamboo, but is omnivorous and may also eat eggs, birds, insects, and small mammals. It is a solitary animal, mainly active from dusk to dawn, and is largely sedentary during the day.
The red panda has been classified as Vulnerable by IUCN because its population is estimated at fewer than 10,000 mature individuals. Although red pandas are protected by national laws in their range countries, their numbers in the wild continue to decline mainly due to habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, and inbreeding depression.