Red Panda

Red panda at Wingham Wildlife Park

Size
On average an adult Red Panda reaches lengths of between 78 cm and 115 cm, although up to half of this may be made up by their tail.  They can weigh between 3 and 6 kg.

Habitat and Distribution
The Himalayan foothills make up the habitat of this species, where they can be found from Nepal through to China, with Bhutan, Burma, India and Tibet in between.  It seems to prefer mountainous areas (being found at up to 4,800 meters above sea level, where it lives in trees and dense bamboo growth.

Diet
The majority of their diet is made up to bamboo but they will also eat a variety of flowers, leaves, fruits, bark, eggs and small animals.  At Wingham Wildlife Park we also supplement their diet with a specialist diet (giving them the nutrients they would get from such vast amounts of bamboo) called Panda Cakes.

Groups and Breeding
Most of the time these animals are solitary in the wild, however pairs will often live quite happily with one another in captivity.  The mating season for this species is January to March and after a 112 day to 158 day gestation the female will give birth to up to 4 cubs.

Threats
This species is vulnerable to extinction in the wild, with the main threats it faces being caused by humans.  This species was often heavily hunted for its beautiful fur, and while this still occurs it is no longer as common as it once was.  Humans are still however encroaching on their range and destroying their habitat, which is now their biggest threat.

Interesting facts
The Red Panda belongs in to a family of its own and even though shares its name, is not related to the Giant Pandas.  It is more closely (although this is still a very distance relation) to the Weasels, Badgers, Skunks and Otters of the Mustelids superfamily.

Age
In the wild they may live to be 8 years, however in captivity 15 to 18 years is not uncommon.