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Red Panda facts
Red Panda facts
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Red Panda Conservation by WWF- An Endangered Species in India

Red Panda Conservation by WWF- An Endangered Species in India
India’s rich wildlife and scenic Himalayan mountains have been a top draw for a huge number of tourists and animal lovers from all over the world. Among the large number of animals and rare birds that dominate the Indian forests, the Red Panda occupies a fraction of space but needs immediate attention so that the world can preserve and protect the species from extinction. Even for those who are not ardent forest lovers, a Red Panda Expedition could be a great introduction to the Indian forest ecosystem, that could develop into a lifelong love for the wildlife.
Fancy the sight of a fluffy little bear with a long bushy tail lying on the top of a branch, dangling its legs from both sides, oblivious to its surroundings!
The Red Panda features in the list of endangered animals according to the IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature. It is smaller than the Giant panda, and looks little like it. Found in the Eastern Himalayas in India, the Red Panda is an absolute charm to spot in its natural habitat out in the wild. It is a rare sighting in some specific corridors of the Indian forest. A Red Panda Expedition also offers some great opportunities for probable sightings of exotic animals and birds in the Singalila National Park of Darjeeling, West Bengal.
Speaking of the Red Panda habitat in India, the Singalila National Park, bordering Nepal, lies on the way to a very scenic trekking trail – Sandakphu, which is the highest peak in West Bengal at 3636 meters. The national park covers a total area of more than 78 sq kilometres, and supports a great variety of flora and fauna. Almost 20 varieties of Rhododendrons and about 600 different varieties of orchids bloom in March-April, this is also the peak season for Red Panda sighting. The ex-wildlife sanctuary turned into a national park in 1992, is home to many species of animals like the Clouded Leopard, Pangolin, the Barking Deer, Himalayan Black Bear, Black Panther, Chinkara etc. The bird kingdom also thrives here, including bird species like Long Billed Wren Babbler, Bar winged wren babbler, Satyr Tragopan, Himalayan Monal, Blue-capped Redstart, Laughingthrush, Hodgesons Frogmouth, Himalayan Griffon, Scarlet Minivet, Blood pheasant, Gold Naped Finch, to name a few. The entire park is full of oak and fern trees, primulas, silver firs, magnolia and bamboo. It is the bamboo tree which is the lifeline of the Red Panda.
Primarily a herbivore of temperate forests, the Red Panda typically eats, sleeps and plays on bamboo trees. In fact, the name ‘panda’ is said to have been derived from the Nepali word ‘ponya’ meaning bamboo or plant eating mammal. This Himalayan panda is largely under threat due to climate change and deforestation. With rising temperature, the pandas, that ideally live at altitudes between 7000 ft and 12000 ft, are forced to move up to higher altitudes, while on the other hand human encroachment is diminishing the secured forest area that they call home. While the snow leopard is the main predator of the harmless red panda, the loss of bamboo forest directly affects the red panda population and is one of the main reasons for its declining number.
Red Panda Conservation in the Singalila National Park

Listed as an Endangered species as per IUCN – Red Pandas need to be protected.

There are ongoing conservation efforts made by WWF in association with the Indian state governments to protect this endangered species. To this effect, strict measures are taken to punish anyone poaching, buying or selling red pandas. Alternate sources of livelihood are being introduced to generate higher income to prevent locals encroaching into forests to cut off bamboo trees and sell wood for fuel or money. Additionally, tourism is promoted to bring in more foreign visitors to showcase the beautiful mountains and forests of India, that would eventually generate more income for the local population. In parallel, efforts are also made to examine the feasibility of bringing in more red pandas and reproducing them in the Indian Himalayas and to see if that population can flourish in the Indian forests.
Red Panda conservation is an ongoing process. Awareness is key to preserve their diminishing numbers. As per reports, less than 10,000 red pandas live on the planet today. That is a remarkably small number for the entire species.
Take a tour of the Indian forests in Eastern Himalayas and participate in a Red Panda Expedition in March 2019. Owing to the small window for this expedition and small team size, there are very few seats available. Participants can expect a very thrilling and enriching week long adventure during this expedition, and will be exposed to some real forest environment.
Unlike other forests, the Singalila National Park in the north of West Bengal lies in a mountainous terrain in high altitude. Pleasantly cold temperature, amazing views, lush green vegetation and an incredible variety of animals and exotic birds will make for a perfect holiday.
There are several trekking trails and vehicle routes crisscrossing the national park, and its a great start for beginners in trekking. Tea house or local homestay accommodation is available throughout the entire route for guests, and in fact this region is frequented by many foreign tourists every year during the peak season, simply for the breathtaking panoramic views of some of the world’s highest peaks – Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu.
To know more about how you could join the Red Panda Expedition in March 2019 and expedition dates, please get in touch with a GroupOuting SPOC. You could also enquire about tours to tag along before or after the expedition including treks to Sandakphu, or book a few nights stay in a luxury British Bungalow in the middle of a tea estate near Darjeeling.

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