ITANAGAR: A little red panda, listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of threatened species, has been spotted at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said on Wednesday. Perhaps this is the first time a red panda has been spotted in the border district of the northeastern state. "Cute and little #RedPanda spotted in Tawang! The small mammal is listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of threatened species. "These bamboo-munching species mostly reside in Himalayan regions of the Northeast. Let us together protect them. They are important to safeguard biodiversity and maintain ecological integrity," Khandu tweeted along with a video of the mammal.
According to the World Wildlife Fund website, the red panda is slightly larger than a domestic cat, with a bear-like body and thick russet fur. The belly and limbs are black, and there are white markings on the side of the head and above its small eyes. Red pandas are very skilled and acrobatic animals that predominantly stay in trees. It is the state animal of Sikkim, which hosts the Red Panda Festival every year. The winter event features parades and live music and draws tourists and locals alike. Almost 50 per cent of the red panda's habitat is in the eastern Himalayas. They use their long, bushy tails for balance and to cover themselves in the winter, presumably for warmth. Primarily an herbivore, the name panda is said to come from the Nepali word 'ponya,' which means bamboo or plant-eating animal.
Also Read: Drive launched for conservation of Red Pandas in Gangtok