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Red panda

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Red panda
Red panda.2.jpg
Scientific Classification
Scientific Name

Ailurus fulgens

Subspecies
  • A. f. fulgens
  • A. f. refulgens
R.p. in a tree.jpeg
A Red panda sleeping in a tree.

The Red panda, or the Ailurus fulgens means fire-colored cat. Other nicknames for them are the lesser panda, red cat-bear, and Firefox. Even though they are thought of as the lesser panda in comparison to the Giant panda, they are a very adored animal. The Red panda has a browser named after them (Mozilla Firefox). They originally wanted to name it Fire bird, but discovered that another open source project was using that name, so they changed it. Also Master Shifu from Kung Fu Panda is a Red panda.[2]

The Red panda or Ailurus fulgens is known as a vulnerable animal and are near extinction. There are fewer than 10,000 Red pandas in the world.[3]

There has been a lot of argument about weather the Red panda is even considered a panda. Though they are a type of bear, that they belong in there own family, the Ailuridae. But studies show that even though they are indeed related to a Giant panda. Though the Red Panda is more closely related to the Giant panda, they are more similar to raccoons. [4]

Body Design

The Red panda has a face resembling a cat or raccoon.

The Red panda is a fairly small animal (about the same size as a large housecat), with a head and body about 22 to 25 inches in length while their tails are between 15in to 19in long, [5] and weigh about 7 to 13 pounds. Though males are typically bigger than females. Their bodies are reddish upper body and a dark brown/black thick fur covering there lower body. They have a long striped, bushy tails that help them balance while climbing trees. The Red panda has short black legs which works with the tail for support; when they stand on their hind legs they use their long tail as support. [6] There paw pods are covered with fur which helps them walk on cold or a snow covered ground and protects them from slipping on wet branches. They have sharp claws used for climbing trees and a large Sesamoid wrist bone with a forepaw that can pull apart bamboo leaves. Red Panda can rotate its ankles to be able to climb down a tree headfirst which is a uncommon characteristic, something few climbing species can do. [7]

The Red panda has a roundish face resembling one of a cat or a raccoon. They have reddish brown stripes that run down both sides of their white muzzle, a small black nose with whiskers, and reddish brown "tear tracks" used to keep the sun out of their dark eyes extending from there eye to the corners of there mouth. They have medium size, white ears and large, flat teeth. Most herbivores have very strong teeth making it easier to chew plants but the Red panda is an exception whose gut isn't specialized to handle plant matter. [8]

Life Cycle

The Red panda has a long gestation period that usually lasts 135 days. They mate January though march. The Red panda has a very slow rate of reproduction. The female will find a [tree hollow]] or rock crevice and line the insides with bamboo leaves for a place to have and raise her cubs. When a female Red panda gives birth it is a very small litter. Usually about two cubs, and typically in the summertime. When the cubs are three months old they build a nest of their own but do not yet leave there mothers. Despite the fact that Red pandas eat a lot, they grow very slowly, they become sexually mature after about 18 months. And they become the size of an adult after about a year and six months later they are ready to have cubs of there own. Though the father does not take part in raising there cubs at all. They go from being cubs to adult size after only about a year.[9]

While the mother takes care of her cub for the first few days, she is at there side up to 90 percent of the time. The cubs can gain up to 20 grams a day during this period. Afterwards, they are left alone while she finds food, but will return often to feed them. When the cubs reach 90 days old, the mother will start to take them with her to search for food. [10]

The Red panda usually lives up to 14 years in captivity and about seven to ten years in the wild. They have a great deal of difficulty recovering from population declines.[11]

Ecology

This is where the Red panda typically lives.

The Red pandas live in the mountains of Nepal, northern Myanmar, central China, and higher altitudes in the Himalayan Mountains. Usually in high, rainy, cool, temperate bamboo forests, or thickets. Considering the facts that the Red panda lives in cold climates, they have well adapted to the temperature. They use there dense fur and blanket-like tail to keep warm and the bottoms of there feet are covered in fur which also helps them keep warm. [12]

The Red panda spends most of its life in trees sleeping. They're most active at night which is also when they hunt for food.[13] The Red panda is a herbivore. So their diet is almost vegetarian. They mostly eats bamboo, however, they also enjoy fruit, acorns, roots, and eggs. Just like the Giant panda, the Red panda has an extended wrist bone that functions as a thumb and helps them grasp their food efficiently.[14]

The Red panda really has to keep an eye out for its predators. Aside from humans poaching them and turning them into hats, there predators include: Snow Leopards and the Martens. Birds of Prey and small carnivores prey on the cubs. [15]

Endangered Species

Red Pandas are an endangered species. Red pandas are endangered because they are poached by humans and there native habitat is being destroyed. The forests where they typically live are being cut down for agriculture and development. Red pandas eat bamboo and they sleep and hide in the trees that are being cutting down. [16] In case they need to populate in the wild (because of how drastic there population is decreasing), zoos are required to keep the Red pandas alive in captivity. [17]

There are less then 10,000 Red pandas remaining in the world. And that number is constantly lowering. Because of this, since 2008 they have been listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There major habitat loss over the last 50 years, more than 40 percent of Red pandas have gone extinct in this time period.[18]

Saving the Red panda is important because they have a unique biology. It would be unfortunate to let the Red panda go extincted because they are God's creation and were put on this earth for a reason. They are very unique animals, there is no animal quite like them and it would be a shame to loose them to extinction. In addition, if we save the Red pandas we can save the landscape that supports 15% of the human population.[19]

Video

Here are some fun facts on the Red Panda!

References

  1. Red Panda'Ailurus fulgens Wikispecies. Web. Modified November 2, 2016. Author Unknown.
  2. Red panda (Ailurus fulgens) Wildscreen. Accessed. January 18, 2017. Author unknown.
  3. Emerson, Sarah. 9 Things The Internet Didn't Teach You About Red Pandas the dodo. Accessed on January 18, 2017
  4. Thompson, Austin 12 Furry Facts About Red Pandas Mental Floss. Accessed January 18, 2017.
  5. San Diego Zoo Global Red Panda, Ailurus fulgens. Web. accessed September 3, 2010.) Various authors: Author unknown
  6. San Diego Zoo Global Red Panda, Ailurus fulgens. Web. accessed September 3, 2010. Various authors
  7. Red panda facts - all about Red Pandas Wildlife Extra. Published November 30, 2008. author unknown
  8. Red Panda last-modified January 9, 2017. author unknown
  9. Kurzeja, Corrine. Red Panda Project Species Recovery. Last modified May 28, 2013.
  10. RED PANDA Bio Expedition. Published April 17, 2012.) Author unknown.
  11. Kurzeja, Corrine. Red panda project Species Recovery. Last modified May 28, 2013.
  12. Engelsiepen, Jane. The Red Panda Ecology Communications Group, Inc.. Web. Published April 3, 2012.).
  13. Engelsiepen, Jane. The Red Panda Ecology Communications Group, Inc.. Web. Published April 3, 2012.).
  14. Red Panda National Geographic Society. Accessed on January 18, 2017. Author unknown
  15. Red Panda 2017 A-Z Animals.Published December 5, 2008. Author Unknown
  16. Why are red pandas endangered? IAC Publishing, LLC
  17. Saving the red pandas CBS Interactive Inc..Published June 20, 2015. Author unknown
  18. Emerson, Sarah.9 Things The Internet Didn't Teach You About Red Pandas the dodo. Accessed on January 18, 2017
  19. Red Panda IAC Publishing, LLC. Accessed on January 18, 2017.) Author unknown.