Red Pandas are native to the Himalayan region. They share a taste for bamboo with the giant pandas, but they have a bigger range of foods they eat, such as eggs, acorns and roots. Unfortunately, due to their habitat being endangered, their numbers continue to decline.
Red Pandas face a shortage of space as deforestation continues at a rapid rate. Excessive extraction of fuel wood had threatened its existence in Sikkim and western Arunachal Pradesh.
Classifying Red Pandas proved very challenging for scientists; some have linked it to the Giant Panda while others said it was related to the raccoon. Now, though, the Red Panda has its own unique family – Ailuridae. They spend most of their lives on trees, sleeping during the day and being awake at night.
Another threat that the Red Panda faces is the threat from feral dog packs that are growing in numbers. These dogs clash with the Red Pandas and often win.
This Red Panda at a zoo in Darjeeling at least doesn’t have to worry about being chased out of its home or being attacked by dogs.
Bonus Fact: Red Pandas are the only non-primates to be able to taste aspartame (an artificial sweetner). Previously, only Old World apes, monkeys and humans were believed to be able to do so.