Red panda

The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List because the wild population is estimated at fewer than 10,000 mature individuals and continues to decline due to habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, and inbreeding depression.[1]

The red panda has reddish-brown fur, a long, shaggy tail, and a waddling gait due to its shorter front legs; it is roughly the size of a domestic cat, though with a longer body and somewhat heavier. It is arboreal, feeds mainly on bamboo, but also eats eggs, birds, and insects. It is a solitary animal, mainly active from dusk to dawn, and is largely sedentary during the day. It is also called the lesser panda, the red bear-cat, and the red cat-bear.[4]

The red panda is the only living species of the genus Ailurus and the family Ailuridae. It has been previously placed in the raccoon and bear families, but the results of phylogenetic analysis provide strong support for its taxonomic classification in its own family, Ailuridae, which is part of the superfamily Musteloidea, along with the weasel, raccoon and skunk families.[5] Two subspecies are recognized.[3] It is not closely related to the giant panda, which is a basal ursid.[6]

Red panda
RedPandaFullBody
A red panda at the Cincinnati Zoo
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ailuridae
Genus: Ailurus
F. Cuvier, 1825
Species:
A. fulgens
Binomial name
Ailurus fulgens
F. Cuvier, 1825
Subspecies

A. f. fulgens F. Cuvier, 1825
A. f. styani Thomas, 1902[2][3]

Map showing the range of the red pandas
Range of the red panda

Physical characteristics

RedPandaDescent
A red panda descending a tree head first
Ailurus fulgens skull at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum
A red panda skull

The head and body length of a red panda measures 50 to 64 cm (20 to 25 in), and its tail is 28 to 59 cm (11 to 23 in). Males weigh 3.7 to 6.2 kg (8.2 to 13.7 lb) and females 3 to 6.0 kg (6.6 to 13.2 lb).[7][8][9] They have long, soft, reddish-brown fur on the upper parts, blackish fur on the lower parts, and a light face with tear markings and robust cranio-dental features. The light face has white badges similar to those of a raccoon, but each individual can have distinctive markings. Their roundish heads have medium-sized upright ears, black noses, and blackish eyes. Their long, bushy tails with six alternating transverse ochre rings provide balance and excellent camouflage against their habitat of moss- and lichen-covered trees. The legs are black and short with thick fur on the soles of the paws. This fur serves as thermal insulation on snow-covered or icy surfaces and conceals scent glands, which are also present on the anus.[10]

The red panda is specialized as a bamboo feeder with strong, curved and sharp semi-retractile claws[7] standing inward for grasping narrow tree branches, leaves, and fruit. Like the giant panda, it has a "false thumb", which is an extension of the wrist bone. When descending a tree head-first, the red panda rotates its ankle to control its descent, one of the few climbing species to do so.[11]

Distribution and habitat

Tiergarten Schoenbrunn Kleiner Panda 2
A red panda sleeping on a tree.

The red panda is endemic to the temperate forests of the Himalayas, and ranges from the foothills of western Nepal to China in the east.[12] Its easternmost limit is the Qinling Mountains of the Shaanxi Province in China. Its range includes southern Tibet, Sikkim and Assam in India, Bhutan, the northern mountains of Burma, and in south-western China, in the Hengduan Mountains of Sichuan and the Gongshan Mountains in Yunnan. It may also live in south-west Tibet and northern Arunachal Pradesh, but this has not been documented. Locations with the highest density of red pandas include an area in the Himalayas that has been proposed as having been a refuge for a variety of endemic species in the Pleistocene. The distribution range of the red panda should be considered disjunct, rather than continuous.[7] A disjunct population inhabits the Meghalaya Plateau of north-eastern India.[13]

During a survey in the 1970s, signs of red pandas were found in Nepal's Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve.[14] Their presence was confirmed in spring 2007 when four red pandas were sighted at elevations ranging from 3,220 to 3,610 m (10,560 to 11,840 ft).[15] The species' westernmost limit is in Rara National Park located farther west of the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve.[16] Their presence was confirmed in 2008.[17]

The red panda lives between 2,200 and 4,800 m (7,200 and 15,700 ft) altitude, inhabiting areas of moderate temperature between 10 and 25 °C (50 and 77 °F) with little annual change. It prefers mountainous mixed deciduous and conifer forests, especially with old trees and dense understories of bamboo.[7][12]

The red panda population in Sichuan Province is larger and more stable than the Yunnan population, suggesting a southward expansion from Sichuan into Yunnan in the Holocene.[18]

The red panda has become extirpated from the Chinese provinces of Guizhou, Gansu, Shaanxi, and Qinghai.[19]

Distribution of subspecies

Distribution of the red panda is disjointed, with two extant subspecies:

  • Western red panda A. f. fulgens (Cuvier, 1825) lives in the western part of its range, in Nepal, Assam, Sikkim, and Bhutan.
  • Styan's red panda A. f. styani lives in the east-north-eastern part of its range, in southern China and northern Burma.[20]

A. f. styani has been described by Thomas in 1902 based on one skull from a specimen collected in Sichuan.[2] Pocock distinguished A. f. styani from A. f. fulgens by its longer winter coat and greater blackness of the pelage, bigger skull, more strongly curved forehead, and more robust teeth. His description is based on skulls and skins collected in Sichuan, Myitkyina close to the border of Yunnan, and Upper Burma.[10]

Styan's red panda is supposedly larger and darker in color than the Western member of the species, but with considerable variation in both subspecies, and some individuals may be brown or yellowish brown rather than red.[12]

The Brahmaputra River is often considered the natural division between the two subspecies, where it makes a curve around the eastern end of the Himalayas, although some authors suggest A. f. fulgens extends farther eastward, into China.

Biology and behavior

Behavior

Sounds of red panda twittering

The red panda is territorial; it is solitary except during mating season. The species is generally quiet except for some twittering, tweeting, and whistling communication sounds. It has been reported to be both nocturnal and crepuscular, sleeping on tree branches or in tree hollows during the day and increasing its activity in the late afternoon and early evening hours. It sleeps stretched out on a branch with legs dangling when it is hot, and curled up with its tail over the face when it is cold.[7] This animal is very heat-sensitive, with an optimal "well-being" temperature between 17 and 25 °C (63 and 77 °F), and cannot tolerate temperatures over 25 °C (77 °F).

Lesser panda standing
A red panda standing on a stone

Shortly after waking, red pandas clean their fur somewhat like a cat would, licking their front paws and then rubbing their backs, torsos, and sides. They also rub their backs and bellies along the sides of trees or rocks. Then they patrol their territories, marking with urine and a weak musk-smelling secretion from their anal glands. They search for food running along the ground or through the trees. Red pandas may use their forepaws alternately to bring food to their mouths or place food directly into their mouths.[7]

Predators of the red panda include the snow leopard, mustelids, and humans. If they feel threatened or sense danger, they may try to escape by climbing a rock column or tree. If they can no longer flee, they stand on their hind legs to make themselves appear larger and use the sharp claws on their front paws to defend themselves. A red panda, Futa, became a visitor attraction in Japan for his ability to stand upright for ten seconds at a time.[21] (See also: facultative biped)

Diet

A red panda gnawing

Red pandas are excellent climbers, and forage largely in trees. They eat mostly bamboo, and may eat small mammals, birds, eggs, flowers, and berries. In captivity, they were observed to eat birds, flowers, maple and mulberry leaves, and bark and fruits of maple, beech, and mulberry.[7]

Like the giant panda, they cannot digest cellulose, so they must consume a large volume of bamboo to survive. Their diets consist of about two-thirds bamboo, but they also eat mushrooms, roots, acorns, lichens, and grasses. Occasionally, they supplement their diets with fish and insects. They do little more than eat and sleep due to their low-calorie diets.[22][23]

Endangered Red Panda
The red panda's herbivore diet

Bamboo shoots are more easily digested than leaves, exhibiting the highest digestibility in summer and autumn, intermediate digestibility in the spring, and lowest digestibility in the winter. These variations correlate with the nutrient contents in the bamboo. Red pandas process bamboo poorly, especially the cellulose and cell wall components. This implies microbial digestion plays only a minor role in their digestive strategy. To survive on this poor-quality diet, they have to eat the high-quality sections of the bamboo plant, such as the tender leaves and shoots, in large quantities, over 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) of fresh leaves and 4 kg (8.8 lb) of fresh shoots daily. This food passes through the digestive tract fairly rapidly (about 2–4 hr) so as to maximize daily nutrient intake.[24] Red pandas can taste artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, and are the only nonprimates known to be able to do so.[25]

Reproduction

Dortmund-Zoo-Kleiner Panda151930
A red panda tending its cub

Red pandas are able to reproduce at around 18 months of age, and are fully mature at two to three years. Adults rarely interact in the wild except to mate. Both sexes may mate with more than one partner during the mating season from mid-January to early March.[26] A few days before birth, females begin to collect material, such as brushwood, grass, and leaves, to build a nest, which is normally located in a hollow tree or a rock crevice. After a gestation period of 112 to 158 days, the female gives birth in mid-June to late July to one to four (usually 1–2) blind and deaf cubs weighing 110 to 130 g (3.9 to 4.6 oz) each.[7]

After birth, the mother cleans the cubs, and can then recognize each by its smell. At first, she spends 60% to 90% of her time with the cubs. After the first week, the mother starts spending more time outside the nest, returning every few hours to nurse and groom the cubs. She moves the young frequently among several nests, all of which she keeps clean. The cubs start to open their eyes at about 18 days of age. By about 90 days, they achieve full adult fur and coloring, and begin to venture out of the nest. They also start eating solid foods at this point, weaning at around six to eight months of age. The cubs stay with their mother until the next litter is born in the following summer. Males rarely help raise the young, and only if they live in pairs or in small groups.[7]

A red panda's average lifespan is between eight and 10 years, but individuals have been known to reach 15 years.[27]

Threats

The primary threats to red pandas are direct harvest from the wild, live or dead, competition with domestic livestock resulting in habitat degradation, and deforestation resulting in habitat loss or fragmentation. The relative importance of these factors is different in each region, and is not well understood.[12] For instance, in India, the biggest threat seems to be habitat loss followed by poaching, while in China, the biggest threat seems to be hunting and poaching.[1] A 40% decrease in red panda populations has been reported in China over the last 50 years, and populations in western Himalayan areas are considered to be lower.[19]

Deforestation can inhibit the spread of red pandas and exacerbate the natural population subdivision by topography and ecology, leading to severe fragmentation of the remaining wild population. Fewer than 40 animals in four separate groups share resources with humans in Nepal's Langtang National Park, where only 6% of 1,710 km2 (660 sq mi) is preferred red panda habitat. Although direct competition for food with domestic livestock is not significant, livestock can depress bamboo growth by trampling.[28]

Small groups of animals with little opportunity for exchange between them face the risk of inbreeding, decreased genetic diversity, and even extinction. In addition, clearcutting for firewood or agriculture, including hillside terracing, removes old trees that provide maternal dens and decreases the ability of some species of bamboo to regenerate.[12]

In south-west China, red pandas are hunted for their fur, especially for the highly valued bushy tails, from which hats are produced. In these areas, the fur is often used for local cultural ceremonies. In weddings, the bridegroom traditionally carries the hide. The "good-luck charm" red panda-tail hats are also used by local newly-weds.[19] This practice may be quite old, as the red panda seems to be depicted in a 13th-century Chinese pen-and-ink scroll showing a hunting scene. Little or no mention of the red panda is made in the culture and folklore of Nepal.[29]

In the past, red pandas were captured and sold to zoos. In an article appearing in the International Zoo News in 1969, one reported he personally had handled 350 red pandas in 17 years.[30]

Due to CITES, this zoo harvest has decreased substantially in recent years, but poaching continues, and red pandas are often sold to private collectors at exorbitant prices. In some parts of Nepal and India, red pandas are kept as pets.[31]

The red panda has a naturally low birth rate (usually one single or twin birth per year), and a high death rate in the wild.

Conservation

Red Panda (25193861686)
Closeup look of a red panda
Ailurus fulgens - 01
A red panda resting on a tree

The red panda is listed in CITES Appendix I.[32] The species has been classified as endangered in the IUCN Red List since 2008 because the global population is estimated at about 10,000 individuals, with a decreasing population trend; only about half of the total area of potential habitat of 142,000 km2 (55,000 sq mi) is actually being used by the species. Due to their shy and secretive nature, and their largely nocturnal habits, observation of red pandas is difficult. Therefore, population figures in the wild are determined by population density estimates and not direct counts.[1]

Worldwide population estimates range from fewer than 2,500[26] to between 16,000 and 20,000 individuals.[13] In 1999, the total population in China was estimated at between 3,000 and 7,000 individuals.[19] In 2001, the wild population in India was estimated at between 5,000 and 6,000 individuals.[13] Estimates for Nepal indicate only a few hundred individuals.[33] No records from Bhutan or Burma exist.

Reliable population numbers are hard to find, partly because other animals have been mistaken for the red panda. For instance, one report from Burma stated that red pandas were still fairly common in some areas; however, the accompanying photographic proof of the "red panda" is in fact a species of civet.[34]

The red panda is protected in all range countries, and hunting is illegal.[1] Beyond this, conservation efforts are highly variable between countries:

In situ initiatives

A community-managed forest in Ilam District of eastern Nepal is home to 15 red pandas which generate household income through tourism activities, including homestays. Villagers in the high-altitude areas of Arunachal Pradesh have formed the Pangchen Red Panda Conservation Alliance comprising five villages with a community-conserved forest area of 200 km2 (77 sq mi) at an altitude of 2,500 m (8,200 ft) to over 4,000 m (13,000 ft).[36]

In captivity

Spinus-red-panda-2014-10-n017050-w
Red panda at Prospect Park Zoo, New York

The red panda is quite adaptable to living in captivity, and is common in zoos worldwide. By 1992, more than 300 births had occurred in captivity, and more than 300 individuals lived in 85 institutions worldwide.[37] By 2001, 182 individuals were in North American zoos alone.[38] As of 2006, the international studbook listed more than 800 individuals in zoos and parks around the world. Of these, 511 individuals of subspecies A. f. fulgens were kept in 173 institutions[39] and 306 individuals of subspecies A. f. styani were kept in 81 institutions.[40]

The international studbook is currently managed at the Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands. In cooperation with the International Red Panda Management Group, they coordinate the Species Survival Plan in North America, the European Endangered Species Programme in Europe, and other captive-breeding programs in Australia, India, Japan, and China.[40][41] In 2009, Sarah Glass, curator of red pandas and special exhibits at the Knoxville Zoo in Knoxville, Tennessee, was appointed as coordinator for the North American Red Panda Species Survival Plan. The Knoxville Zoo has the largest number of captive red panda births in the Western Hemisphere (101 as of August 2011). Only the Rotterdam Zoo has had more captive births worldwide.[39][40]

The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park in Darjeeling, India, successfully released four captive-bred red pandas to the wild in August and November 2003.[41]

RedPanda SingalilaNationalPark DFrame
A red panda feeding on Sorbus wardii seasonal fruit in the Himalayan region

As pets

Red Panda in a Gingko tree
A red panda on a ginkgo tree

The most often cited example of keeping red pandas as pets is the case of former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi. Pandas were presented to her family as a gift, and they were then housed in "a special tree house".[42]

Phylogenetics

The taxonomic classification of the red panda has been controversial since it was discovered. French zoologist Frédéric Cuvier initially described the red panda in 1825, and classified it as a close relative of the raccoon (Procyonidae), though he gave it the genus name Ailurus, (from Ancient Greek αἴλουρος, "cat"), based on superficial similarities with domestic cats. The specific epithet is the Latin adjective fulgens ("shining").[43]

At various times, it has been placed in the Procyonidae, Ursidae, with Ailuropoda (giant panda) in the Ailuropodinae (until this family was moved into the Ursidae), and into its own family, the Ailuridae. This uncertainty comes from difficulty in determining whether certain characteristics of Ailurus are phylogenetically conservative or are derived and convergent with species of similar ecological habits.[7]

Red panda gnawing
Red panda gnawing on an exfoliated bamboo bush.

Evidence based on the fossil record, serology, karyology, behavior, anatomy, and reproduction reflect closer affinities with Procyonidae than Ursidae. However, ecological and foraging specializations and distinct geographical distribution in relation to modern procyonids support classification in the separate family Ailuridae.[3][7][44]

Recent molecular systematic DNA research also places the red panda into its own family, Ailuridae, a part of the broad superfamily Musteloidea that also includes the skunk, raccoon, and weasel families.[5][44][45]

It is not a bear, nor closely related to the giant panda, nor a raccoon, nor a lineage of uncertain affinities. Rather it is a basal lineage of musteloid, with a long history of independence from its closest relatives (skunks, raccoons, and otters/weasels/badgers).

— Flynn et al., Whence the Red Panda, [5] p. 197

The two subspecies are A. f. fulgens and A. f. styani. However, the name Ailurus fulgens refulgens is sometimes incorrectly used for A. f. styani. This stems from a lapsus made by Henri Milne-Edwards in his 1874 paper "Recherches pour servir à l'histoire naturelle des mammifères comprenant des considérations sur la classification de ces animaux",[46] making A. f. refulgens a nomen nudum.[10][20] The most recent edition of Mammal Species of the World still shows the subspecies as A. f. refulgens.[3] This has been corrected in more recent works, including A guide to the Mammals of China[47] and Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Volume 1: Carnivores.[48]

Evolutionary history

Red Panda Simon 01
Captive red panda

The red panda is considered a living fossil and only distantly related to the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), as it is naturally more closely related to the other members of the superfamily Musteloidea to which it belongs. The common ancestor of both pandas (which also was an ancestor for all living bears; pinnipeds like seals and walruses; and members of the family Musteloidea like weasels and otters) can be traced back to the Paleogene period tens of millions of years ago, with a wide distribution across Eurasia.

Fossils of the extinct red panda Parailurus anglicus have been unearthed from China in the east to Britain in the west.[49] In 1977, a single tooth of Parailurus was discovered in the Pliocene Ringold Formation of Washington. This first North American record is almost identical to European specimens and indicates the immigration of this species from Asia.[50] In 2004, a tooth from a red panda species never before recorded in North America was discovered at the Gray Fossil Site in Tennessee. The tooth dates from 4.5–7 million years ago. This species, described as Pristinailurus bristoli, indicates that a second, more primitive ailurine lineage inhabited North America during the Miocene. Cladistic analysis suggests that Parailurus and Ailurus are sister taxa.[49][51] Additional fossils of Pristinailurus bristoli were discovered at the Gray Fossil Site in 2010 and in 2012.[52][53] The frequency with which panda fossils are being found at Gray Fossil Site suggests the species played a large role in the overall ecosystem of the area.

The discovery in Spain of the postcranial remains of Simocyon batalleri, a Miocene relative to the red panda, supports a sister-group relationship between red pandas and bears. The discovery suggests the red panda's "false thumb" was an adaptation to arboreal locomotion — independent of the giant panda's adaptation to manipulate bamboo — one of the most dramatic cases of convergent evolution among vertebrates.[54]

Taxonomic history

Red Panda
Captive red panda

The first known written record of the red panda occurs in a 13th-century Chinese scroll depicting a hunting scene between hunters and the red panda.[29][37]

Major General Thomas Hardwicke’s 1821 presentation of an article titled "Description of a new Genus of the Class Mammalia, from the Himalaya Chain of Hills Between Nepaul and the Snowy Mountains" at the Linnean Society in London is usually regarded as the moment the red panda became a bona fide species in Western science. Hardwicke proposed the name "wha" and explained: "It is frequently discovered by its loud cry or call, resembling the word ‘Wha’, often repeating the same: hence is derived one of the local names by which it is known. It is also called Chitwa." Hardwicke's paper was not published until 1827, by which time Frédéric Cuvier had published his description and a figure. Hardwicke's originally proposed taxonomic name was removed from the 1827 publication of his paper with his permission, and naming credit is now given to Cuvier.[55]

Frédéric Cuvier had received the specimen he described from his brother's stepson, Alfred Duvaucel, who had sent it "from the mountains north of India".[56] He was the first to use both the binomial name Ailurus fulgens and the vernacular name panda in his description of the species published in 1825 in Histoire naturelle des mammifères.[57][58] Ailurus is adopted from the ancient Greek word αἴλουρος (ailouros), meaning "cat".[59] The specific epithet fulgens is Latin for "shining, bright".[60] Panda is a Roman goddess of peace and travellers, who was called upon before starting a difficult journey.[61] Whether this is the origin of the French vernacular name panda remains uncertain. Later publications claim the name was adopted from a Himalayan language.

In 1847, Hodgson described a red panda under the name Ailurus ochraceus, of which Pocock concluded it represents the same type as Ailurus fulgens, since the description of the two agree very closely. He subordinated both types to the Himalayan red panda subspecies Ailurus fulgens fulgens.[10]

Names

小熊猫圖
An illustration in the Chinese dictionary Zhonghua Da Zidian

Names in its native range

The red panda's local names differ from place to place. The Lepcha call it sak nam. In Nepal, it is called bhalu biralo (bear-cat) and habre. The Sherpa people of Nepal and Sikkim call it ye niglva ponva and wah donka.[62] The word wậː is Sunuwari meaning bear; in Tamang language, a small, red bear is called tāwām.[63] In the Kanchenjunga region of eastern Nepal, the Limbus know red pandas as kaala (literally "dark") because of their underside pelage; villagers of Tibetan origin call them hoptongar.[64]

Additionally, Pocock lists the vernacular names ye and nigálya ponya (Nepal); thokya and thongwa (Limbu); oakdonga or wakdonka and woker (Bhotia); saknam sunam (Lepcha).[10] Nigálya may originate from the Nepali word निङालो niṅālo or nĩgālo, a small bamboo, Arundinaria intermedia, but also refers to a kind of small leopard, or cat-bear.[65] The word pónya may originate from the Nepali पञ्जा pajā ("claw") or पौँजा paũjā ("paw").[66] Nigálya pónya may translate to "bamboo claw/paw". Nigálya pónya, nyala ponga,[67] and poonya are also said to mean "eater of bamboo".[68] The name panda could originate from panjā.[69]

In modern Chinese, the red panda is called xiăoxióngmāo (小熊猫/小熊貓, lesser or small panda),[70] or 红熊猫/紅熊貓 (hóngxióngmāo, red panda).[71] In contrast, the giant panda is called dàxióngmāo (大熊猫/大熊貓, giant or big panda), or simply xióngmāo (熊猫/熊貓, panda, literally bear-cat).

English names

In English, the red panda is also called "lesser panda" (since it is smaller than the giant panda),[72] though "red panda" is more commonly used nowadays. As it was known in the West decades before the giant panda, initially it was the red panda that was simply called "panda".[73][74] When distinction became necessary, the red panda was still considered the "true panda" and "common panda".[72][75]

Other English names used in the past include fire fox, fire cat, red cat, fox bear, bright panda, and Himalayan raccoon.[76][37]

Names in other languages

Many other languages also use "red" or variations of "shining/gold" or "lesser/small" in their names for this species. For instance, червена панда in Bulgarian, panda roux in French, panda rojo in Spanish, and Roter Panda in German all mean "red panda". Since at least as far back as 1855, one of its French names has been panda éclatant (shining panda).[77] In Finnish, it is called kultapanda (gold panda).

Variations of "lesser panda" occur in French petit panda (small panda), German Kleiner Panda (small panda), Spanish panda menor (lesser panda), Dutch kleine panda (small panda), Russian малая панда (malaya panda, "small panda"), Korean 애기판다 (aeki panda, "baby panda"), and Japanese レッサーパンダ (ressā panda, a transliteration of English "lesser panda").

Cultural depictions

The red panda was recognized as the state animal of Sikkim in the early 1990s,[78] and was the mascot of the Darjeeling Tea Festival.[29]

In 2005, Babu, a male red panda at Birmingham Nature Centre in Birmingham, England, escaped[79] and briefly became a media celebrity,[79][80] before being recaptured. He was subsequently voted "Brummie of the Year", the first animal to receive this honor.[79][80] Rusty, a male red panda at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, similarly attracted media attention when he briefly escaped in 2013.[81][82]

The name of the open-source Firefox web browser is said to have been derived from a nickname of the red panda: "fire fox".[83][84]

An anthropomorphic red panda was featured as Master Shifu, the kung fu teacher, in the 2008 film Kung Fu Panda, and its sequels Kung Fu Panda 2 in 2011 and Kung Fu Panda 3 in 2016.[85] The red panda Futa inspired the character of Pabu, the so-called "fire ferret" animal companion (primarily of Bolin), in the U.S. animated TV series The Legend of Korra.[86]

Jetstar Japan uses a red panda mascot character named "Jetta" (ジェッ太).[87]

An anthropomorphic red panda, Retsuko, is the main character of the TV anime and Netflix original series Aggretsuko.[88]

References

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  3. ^ a b c d Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
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Bibliography

Further reading

External links

Aggretsuko

Aggretsuko, also known by its original Japanese title, Aggressive Retsuko (Japanese: アグレッシブ烈子, Hepburn: Aguresshibu Retsuko) is a Japanese anime musical comedy franchise based on the eponymous character created by "Yeti" for the mascot company Sanrio. The character first appeared in a series of animated shorts by Fanworks which aired on TBS Television (Tokyo Broadcasting System Television) between April 2016 and March 2018. An original net animation series launched worldwide on Netflix in April 2018.

Ailuridae

Ailuridae is a family in the mammal order Carnivora. The family consists of the red panda (the sole living representative) and its extinct relatives.

Georges Cuvier first described Ailurus as belonging to the raccoon family in 1825; this classification has been controversial ever since. It was classified in the raccoon family because of morphological similarities of the head, colored ringed tail, and other morphological and ecological characteristics. Somewhat later, it was assigned to the bear family.

Molecular phylogenetic studies show that, as an ancient species in the order Carnivora, the red panda is relatively close to the American raccoon and may be either a monotypic family or a subfamily within the procyonid family. An in-depth mitochondrial DNA population analysis study stated: “According to the fossil record, the Red Panda diverged from its common ancestor with bears about 40 million years ago." With this divergence, by comparing the sequence difference between the red panda and the raccoon, the observed mutation rate for the red panda was calculated to be on the order of 109, which is apparently an underestimate compared with the average rate in mammals. This underestimation is probably due to multiple recurrent mutations as the divergence between the red panda and the raccoon is extremely deep.

The most recent molecular-systematic DNA research places the red panda into its own independent family, Ailuridae. Ailuridae are, in turn, part of a trichotomy within the broad superfamily Musteloidea that also includes the Procyonidae (raccoons) and a group that further subdivides into the Mephitidae (skunks) and Mustelidae (weasels); but it is not a bear (Ursidae).Red pandas have no close living relatives, and their nearest fossil ancestors, Parailurus, lived 3-4 million years ago. There may have been as many as three different species of Parailurus, all larger and more robust in the head and jaw than Ailurus, living in Eurasia and possibly crossing the Bering Strait into the Americas. The red panda may be the sole surviving species - a specialized offshoot surviving the last glacial period in a Chinese mountain refuge.

Andrea Seigel

Andrea Seigel (born October 28, 1979 in Anaheim, California) is an American novelist and screenwriter. To date, she has published four novels. Seigel was born in Anaheim, California and grew up in Irvine, California. She graduated from Woodbridge High School. She then attended Brown University, and received her MFA from Bennington College in Vermont.

In 2010, her third young adult novel, The Kid Table was optioned by producer Ivan Reitman for Paramount Pictures.In March 2013, Seigel appeared on the public radio program This American Life. On the program she revealed that she has ASMR, a perceptual phenomenon that produces tingling in the scalp in response to soft or gentle sounds and motions.In June 2013, production was completed on Laggies, a movie written by Seigel. The film was directed by Lynn Shelton and stars Keira Knightley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ellie Kemper and Sam Rockwell. The film was released in 2014.In May 2015, Andrea became the subject of the podcast, Mystery Show by Gimlet media. The podcast followed the discovery that Britney Spears was reading her little known book, To Feel Stuff.

Balphakram National Park

Balpakram National Park is a national park at about 3000ft. above sea level, near the Garo Hills in Meghalaya, India. Balpakram is located between latitudes 25°20' N and 25°30' N, and longitudes 90°45' E to 91° E . The Balpakram National Park is located to the extreme South of Garo Hills, Meghalaya at a distance of 62 km from Baghmara, the district headquarters of South Garo Hills and 167 km from nearest major townTura. This pocket of pristine beauty named Balpakram National Park is also close to the international boundary of Bangladesh. It is often compared to the Grand Canyon National Park of United States. It is often referred to as the "abode of perpetual winds" as well as the "land of spirits. It is believed that here, the spirits of the dead dwell temporarily before embarking on the final journey. Balpakram is sacred to the Garos as the abode of the dead spirits." It is the home of the barking deer and the golden cat. Commonly seen animals include wild water buffalo, red panda, elephant and eight species of cats including tiger and marbled cat. Balpakram, land of the eternal wind, according to Garo myth, has a very beautiful landscape and one of the best Canyon around the region. It is famous for unique land formations with surround the mythological stories of the Garos. Declared a national park by the Government of India, it is now a protected place and permission has to be sought from the wildlife authorities before entering. It has some unique plants species including the ones mentioned and the corridor for the Indian elephant. Balpakram was inaugurated as a National Park on 27 December 1987.

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park

Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park, formerly Birmingham Nature Centre, and before that Birmingham Zoo, is a small zoo on the edge of Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham, England. Owned and managed by Birmingham City Council.

As well as catering to tourists and locals, the zoo is actively focused in many scientific programs, such as involvement in the EEP captive breeding programmes with endangered animals, helping to highlight the plight of the world’s biodiversity through educational talks and campaigns.

The zoo is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).

Decoder Ring Theatre

Decoder Ring Theatre is a Toronto-based theatre and audio production company that runs a Parsec Award and Podcast Award-winning podcast of the same name. It consists primarily of two series, Red Panda Adventures and Black Jack Justice, both of which are done in the style of old-time radio, and are released on alternating weeks.

Edmonton Valley Zoo

The Edmonton Valley Zoo is a zoo located in the heart of Edmonton, Alberta's river valley. The Edmonton Valley Zoo is owned and operated by the City of Edmonton and is open 364 days a year, closing only on Christmas. The zoo is currently accredited by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is one of three accredited zoos in Alberta.The Valley Zoo opened on July 1, 1959, as a replacement for a previous Edmonton Zoo (Borden Park Zoo) which was torn down to expand Northlands Park (now Northlands). The zoo is home to over 350 exotic and native animals and houses over 100 different species. In 2007, the Edmonton Valley Zoo launched the Makira Conservation Fund Initiative in honour of their newly unveiled lemur habitat, aptly named the Makira Outpost after the Makira forest region in Madagascar. In addition to this cause, the zoo also raises funds and awareness for other endangered animals such as red pandas, through the Red Panda Network, and various other conservation efforts. This facility also promotes animal conservation through its participation in the Species Survival Plan, an international effort led by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association which ultimately aims to restore endangered animal populations to the wild, for a variety of species. They have successfully raised six red panda cubs since 2007.The Edmonton Valley Zoo's 2005 Master Plan was approved by Edmonton City Council, allocating $50 million in capital funding. With the first project, Arctic Shores completed, the second phase, The Wander Trail, Opened in 2013.

Giant panda

The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca, literally "black and white cat-foot"; Chinese: 大熊猫; pinyin: dà xióng māo, literally "big bear cat"), also known as panda bear or simply panda, is a bear native to south central China. It is easily recognized by the large, distinctive black patches around its eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. The name "giant panda" is sometimes used to distinguish it from the unrelated red panda. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the giant panda's diet is over 99% bamboo. Giant pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents, or carrion. In captivity, they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.The giant panda lives in a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan, but also in neighbouring Shaanxi and Gansu. As a result of farming, deforestation, and other development, the giant panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived.

The giant panda is a conservation-reliant vulnerable species. A 2007 report showed 239 pandas living in captivity inside China and another 27 outside the country. As of December 2014, 49 giant pandas lived in captivity outside China, living in 18 zoos in 13 different countries. Wild population estimates vary; one estimate shows that there are about 1,590 individuals living in the wild, while a 2006 study via DNA analysis estimated that this figure could be as high as 2,000 to 3,000. Some reports also show that the number of giant pandas in the wild is on the rise. In March 2015, Mongabay stated that the wild giant panda population had increased by 268, or 16.8%, to 1,864. In 2016, the IUCN reclassified the species from "endangered" to "vulnerable".While the dragon(long) has often served as China's national symbol, internationally the giant panda appears at least as commonly. As such, it is becoming widely used within China in international contexts, for example since 1982 issuing gold panda bullion coins or as one of the five Fuwa mascots of the Beijing Olympics.

Gray Fossil Site

The Gray Site is a Pliocene-epoch assemblage of fossils located near the unincorporated town of Gray, Tennessee in Washington County, and dates from 4.9 to 4.7 million years ago. The Gray Fossil Site was discovered by geologists in May 2000. They were investigating unusual clay deposits turned up during the course of a Tennessee Department of Transportation highway project to widen State Route 75 south of its intersection with Interstate 26.

State Route 75 was realigned to protect the find by order of Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist, and a museum and research center at the dig operated by East Tennessee State University opened in August 2007.

The current dig at the Gray Fossil Site was determined to have been the location of a semi-circular sinkhole that once harbored a pond environment over a long period of time and is now yielding the remains of the ancient plants and animals that lived, watered, and died within the then watery sinkhole. Among the many vertebrate fossils found at the Gray Fossil Site are those of frogs, snakes, turtles and tapirs and recovered fossil records represent finds from approximately one percent of the total area of the Gray Fossil Site that has been explored --- and future fossil recovery from the entire site is projected to continue on for one hundred years.

The Gray Fossil Site is also the world's largest tapir fossil find and is yielding new and rare discoveries such as the most complete skeleton of Teleoceras (an ancient rhinoceros) yet found in eastern North America, a new species of red panda that marks only the second record of this animal in North America (the first red panda fossils found in North America come from the state of Washington), and a newly identified species of an ancient plant-eating badger.

Neora Valley National Park

Neora Valley National Park is situated in the Kalimpong district, West Bengal, India and was established in 1986. It spreads over an area of 88 km² and is one of the richest biological zones in the entire Eastern India. It is the land of the elegant red panda in the pristine undisturbed natural habitat with rugged inaccessible hilly terrain and rich diverse flora and fauna making this park an important wilderness zone.

Nokrek National Park

Nokrek National Park, the core area of Nokrek Biosphere Reserve, is a national park located approximately 2 km from Tura Peak in West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya, India. UNESCO added this National park to its list of Biosphere Reserves in May 2009. Along with Balphakram national park, Nokrek is a hotspot of biodiversity in Meghalaya.

Odense Zoo

Odense Zoo is a zoological garden in Odense, Denmark.

At the time of its opening in 1930, the zoo had two apes, a peacock, a deer, a mule, magpies, and guinea pigs. Today, the zoo has animals from all over the world, approx. 2,000 different animals, covering 147 species such as chimpanzee, monkeys, ring-tailed lemur, Siberian tiger, Grévy's zebra, giraffe, red panda, West Indian manatee, ostrich, penguins, pink-backed pelican, greater flamingo, macaws and Aldabra giant tortoise. In 2001, Odense Zoo inaugurated a DKK 60 million "Oceanium" featuring South American animal life, ranging from the Amazon Rainforest to Antarctica.

In 2008, Odense Zoo was Funen's most popular tourist attraction and number 9 in Denmark, and in 2013 it received the "Best in Europe" award in its category (zoos with up to 500,000 visitors per year). The visitor record was set in the first year of the "Oceanium" when the zoo received 439,533 visitors.

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (also called the Darjeeling Zoo) is a 67.56-acre (27.3 ha) zoo in the town of Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal. The zoo was opened in 1958, and an average elevation of 7,000 feet (2,134 m), is the largest high altitude zoo in India. It specializes in breeding animals adapted to alpine conditions, and has successful captive breeding programs for the snow leopard, the critically endangered Himalayan wolf and the red panda. The zoo attracts about 300,000 visitors every year. The park is named after Padmaja Naidu (1900–1975), daughter of Sarojini Naidu. The zoo serves as the central hub for Central Zoo Authority of India's red panda program and is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Paradise Park, Cornwall

Paradise Park is a wildlife sanctuary situated in Hayle, Cornwall, England. It has over 650 birds and animals and is the home of the World Parrot Trust.

Red Panda Adventures

The Red Panda Adventures is a lighthearted radio drama series in the style of old time radio that follows the 1930s adventures of "Canada's greatest superhero", the Red Panda, and his trusty sidekick, that "fearless fighting female", the Flying Squirrel, as they protect the citizens of Toronto, Ontario from villains ranging from gangsters and supervillains to the supernatural forces of darkness.

The series was created by Gregg Taylor of Decoder Ring Theatre and earned the company multiple Podcast Award and Parsec Award nominations. In 2010 the series won the Parsec Award for excellence in Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Long Form), and earned Decoder Ring Theatre the Podcast Award for best podcast in the Cultural/Arts Category. The series has spawned a series of novels written within continuity and in the style of the classic pulp fiction stories of the 1930s and 1940s. The Tales of the Red Panda books includes the 2011 winner of the Pulp Ark Award for best New Pulp Fiction Novel, Tales of the Red Panda: The Android Assassins. Decoder Ring Theatre was profiled on the BBC Television program "Click" in February 2011, leading to new exposure for the Red Panda Adventures in the UK. The radio drama series also inspired a spin-off series of comic book adventures published digitally by MonkeyBrain Comics, and collected in trade paperback edition by IDW Publishing. The comic books, written by series author Gregg Taylor and illustrated by artist Dean Kotz have been highly praised by industry media outlets such as Comic Book Resources and Bleeding Cool. Both the audio drama and comic series have been featured in the Toronto Star, and the Television program "Innerspace" on Space, the Imagination Station

Ribhan

Ribhan (रिभान, transcribed also as "'Reevan'" and "'Rivan'") is a village and Village Development Committee in Kaski District in the Gandaki Zone of northern-central Nepal. At the time of the 2001 Nepal census it had a population of 1,617 persons living in 372 individual households.Brahmin and Gurung are main ethnic groups in this village. Ribhan is mainly in the bank of Mardi river which is main source of irrigation for people of this agriculture-based village. The forest in this village has many endangered species such as Himali red panda and leopard. Much of its forest is still unexplored as it is very remote with high hills and sometimes snow. It is a part of Annapurna Conservation Area project .

Singalila National Park

Singalila National Park is a national park of India located on the Singalila Ridge at an altitude of more than 7000 feet above sea level, in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is well known for the trekking route to Sandakphu that runs through it.

Stink badger

Stink badgers (Mydaus) are a genus of the skunk family of carnivorans, the Mephitidae. They resemble the better know members of family Mustelidae also termed 'badgers' (which are themselves a polyphyletic group). There are only two extant species - the Palawan stink badger (M. marchei), and the Sunda stink badger or Teledu (M. javanensis). They live only on western islands of the Malay Archipelago: Sumatra, Java, Borneo and (in the case of the Palawan stink badger) on the Philippine island of Palawan; as well as many other, smaller islands in the region.

Stink badgers are named for their resemblance to other badgers and for the foul-smelling secretions that they expel from anal glands in self-defense (which is stronger in the Sunda species).Stink badgers were traditionally thought to be related to Eurasian badgers in the subfamily Melinae of the weasel family of carnivorans (the Mustelidae), but recent DNA analysis indicates they share a more recent common ancestor with skunks, so experts have now placed them in the skunk family (the Mephitidae, which is the sister group of a clade composed of Mustelidae and Procyonidae, with the red panda also assigned to one of the sister clades). The two existing species are different enough from each other for the Palawan stink badger to be sometimes classified in its own genus, Suillotaxus.

Zoo Knoxville

Zoo Knoxville, formerly Knoxville Zoo is a 53-acre (21 ha) zoo located just east of downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, United States, near exit 392 off Interstate 40. The zoo is home to about 800 animals and welcomes over 400,000 visitors each year.

Zoo Knoxville is notable for having bred the first two African Elephants born in the Western Hemisphere. Both born at Zoo Knoxville (then called the Knoxville Zoo) in 1978. The zoo also has bred more endangered red pandas than any other zoo in the world and is a leader in the breeding of endangered tortoises.The zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Extant Carnivora species

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