What has a face like a fluffy kitten, a tail like a raccoon, a bear-like body and lives in a tree?
A Red panda! Red pandas are very skillful and acrobatic animals that predominantly stay in trees. They are herbivores and 85-95% of their diet is bamboo – they eat about 20-30% of their body weight in bamboo shoots and leaves each day! The name panda is said to come from the Nepali word ‘ponya,’ which means bamboo or plant eating animal. Red pandas are nocturnal (they sleep during the day) and use their ringed tails for balance and as blankets to keep warm in the chilly mountain heights of the Eastern Himalayas where they live. They are considered endangered as there are less than 10,000 individuals left. The clearing of their nesting trees and bamboo is causing a decline in red panda populations because their forest home is being lost. We must all work together to save our precious forests which are home to so many unique animals.
Photo: Rebecca Naden