Animal of the Issue: Red Panda

A picture of a red panda for you to swoon over. Photo credit / Pixabay
A picture of a red panda for you to swoon over. Photo credit / Pixabay

A picture of a red panda for you to swoon over. Photo credit / Pixabay

By Amy Lukac

Opinion Editor

Do you know what a red panda is?

It’s slightly larger than a house cat with a bear-like body and thick fur.

These fuzzy little creatures are skillful and acrobatic animals that love to stay high in the trees all day.

Almost 50 percent of the red panda’s habitat is in the Eastern Himalayas.

Because winter comes and goes in this section of the world, their long, bushy tails are used to cover themselves for warmth in addition to helping their balance.

According to the World Wildlife Federation’s (WWF) website, “WWF monitors red pandas and their habitat across India, Nepal and Bhutan to better understand the species.”

“In 2011, our work helped the government in the Indian state of Sikkim declare that the state held an estimated 300 red pandas. WWF also examines the feasibility of reintroducing red pandas to create populations in identified sites within Sikkim.”

So why do these cute little creatures matter?

According to worldwildlife.org, the loss of nesting trees and bamboo is causing a decline in red panda populations across much of their range because their forest home is being cleared.

Worldwildlife.org also informs readers that red pandas are 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 Mynamar.

Unfortunately, red panda fur caps or hats have been found for sale in Bhutan.

Thankfully, WWF  is working with yak herders and other community groups to reduce human impact on these panda’s habitat.

Any person found guilty of killing, buying or selling these little red guys could face a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to ten years in jail.

WWF has a chart on their website that states the animal’s status, population, scientific name, length, and habitats.

The red panda’s status is vulnerable, the population is less than 10,000 individuals, their scientific name is Ailurus fulgens, they are 2 feet in length and they live in temperate forests.

Animals help the world go round, so if you would like to help out, visit worldwildlife.org and find out how!

There are plenty of different ways to help out whether it is donating money, volunteering at an event, or even just spreading awareness.

For more information on the red panda, how to help, or any other animal you want to learn about, just visit their website.

There are also numerous videos and pictures of these cute animals for you to swoon over.

Email Amy at: alukac@live.esu.edu

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