India Home To Both Species Of Red Panda: ZSI

Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have concluded that India is home to both the (sub) species — Himalayan red panda (Ailurus fulgens) and the Chinese red panda (Ailurus styani).

  • The Siang River in Arunachal Pradesh splits the red panda into these two phylogenetic species.
  • The red panda was considered a monotypic species till 2020 until the scientists studied its genetic make-up with respect to the geographical distribution and described the occurrence of the two species.

About Red Panda

  • The red panda is a mammal species native to the eastern Himalayas and south-western China.
  • Though it is considered an indicator species for ecological change, the red panda is shy, solitary and arboreal animal.
  • It primarily feeds on bamboo and avoids human presence.
  • It is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List because the wild population is estimated at fewer than 10,000 mature individuals.
  • The red panda is endemic to the temperate forests of the Himalayas, and ranges from the foothills of western Nepal to China in the east. In India, it is found in Sikkim, western Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling district of West Bengal and parts of Meghalaya.