It’s our duty to look after the environment and the animals within it. Sustainability is a crucial link between both due to human settlements living side by side with many species. More animals are becoming endangered every day because of the pursuit of natural resources. Of the many animals in need of protection the Red Panda will be the feature of today. Sometimes referred to as the ‘fire fox,’ this cuddly bundle of fur looks more like a raccoon than the better known black and white bears. Both species share similar diets of bamboo and reproductive characteristics.
Adults are known to live solitary lives, only sharing short relationships during their breeding season. The home range of territory is measured up to one square mile for females, with males operating in an area twice as large. Red Pandas survive on bamboo, they’re just as happy to supplement other foods like insects and fruit. This unusual diet factors into daily life. Red Pandas are not equipped to digest plant matter, so they only extract around one quarter of nutrients from bamboo. Many Red Pandas lose as much as 15 percent of body weight during the winter. Their low metabolism compensates for this difficulty.
PROTECTION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
Red Pandas are found in ranges around central China, Nepal, Burma and Bhutan. These habitats have been strained by logging and forest degradation. Preserving the Red Panda population will ensure an entire landscape is saved that supports 15% of the human life. Because they live in the mountains of South Asia, Red Pandas are connected to the forests that provide valuable air to the region.
Protecting them goes hand in hand with maintaining the environment for the people who make their homes nearby. Other threats to the animals include cash cropping and firewood distribution. Trends have shown the plant used for fodder is malingo, a small bamboo that is a staple of the Red Panda’s diet. The animals are hunted for their fur, but fortunately this has decreased with new laws.
There are many charities dedicated to protecting Red Pandas in the wild and in captivity. The Red Panda Network reaches out to local communities to help with preservation. In Nepal they created Project Punde Kundo, the world’s first community based monitoring of Red Pandas. 42 local villagers have been employed to guard the forests and work to educate others. The charity is always looking for volunteers and donations. Why not adopt a Panda and contribute to a better world?
The WWF also provide a similar adoption program. It might not seem like a lot but even a couple of pounds or dollars a month can make the difference.
Red Pandas are almost extinct in the western parts of their region. To lose an animal so adorable would be a tragedy that can be prevented. All you have to do is take notice and things can change. Protecting these animals will lead to a healthier, more sustainable environment in China. For more information about Red Pandas be sure to check out