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Red Panda

  • 12 Jul 2022
  • 4 min read

Why in News?

Recently, the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park has started an ambitious programme to release 20 Red Pandas in about five years to the forests.

  • The Singalila National Park, the highest protected area in West Bengal, will soon get new denizens.

What are the Key Points related to Red Panda?

  • About:
    • There are only two different panda species in the world, the Giant Pandas and the Red Pandas.
    • It is also the state animal of Sikkim.
    • Red Pandas are shy, solitary and arboreal animals and considered an indicator species for ecological change.
    • India is home to both the (sub) species:
      • Himalayan red panda (Ailurus fulgens)
      • Chinese red panda (Ailurus styani)
        • Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh splits the two phylogenetic species.
    • It is found in the forests of India, Nepal, Bhutan and the northern mountains of Myanmar and southern China.
    • The number of Red Pandas has been declining in the wild, even in the Singalila and Neora Valley National Parks, the two protected areas where the endangered mammal is found in the wild in West Bengal.
  • Protection Status:

What do we know about the Red Panda Release Programme?

  • Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park has started an ambitious programme to release 20 of these furry mammals in about five years to the forests.
    • The Padmaja Naidu park, Darjeeling is one of the high-altitude zoos in the country and has been quite successful in captive breeding of the furry mammals.
  • The Pandas will be released in the Singalila National Park, the highest protected area in West Bengal.
    • Singalila National Park is located at the Singalila Ridge in the Darjeeling district.
    • It is the highest altitude park in the state of West Bengal.
    • It was initially a wildlife sanctuary and made into a National Park in 1992.
    • Other national parks of West Bengal are:
      • Jalda Para National Park
      • Neora Valley National Park
      • Sundarbans National Park
      • Gorumara National Park
      • Buxa National Park and Tiger Reserve

What are India’s Conservation Efforts for Red Panda?

  • Securing the red panda habitat:
    • WWF-India works with local communities to reduce their dependence on fuelwood by introducing them to innovative techniques to meet their energy demands.
    • In Sikkim, more than 200 individuals have been trained in manufacturing bio-briquettes.
  • Garnering local support:
    • Local communities are involved in alternate livelihood activities that draw benefits for them, while also supporting conservation initiatives.
    • In Arunachal Pradesh, community-based tourism enables the locals to earn additional income from the tourists coming to see red pandas.
  • Mitigating threats to red panda populations:
    • Working with local communities to reduce forest dependence and involving them in conservation measures addresses the threat of habitat degradation and fragmentation.
    • WWF-India has also collaborated with the Sikkim Anti-Rabies and Animal Health (SARAH) and launched a programme to sterilize feral dogs in order to control their growing population around critical wildlife areas.

Source: TH

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