Red pandas roam the Eastern Himalayas. These rust-colored creatures are experiencing a loss of nesting trees and bamboo, leading to a decline in the population.
Here are a few things you should know about red pandas.
1. Red pandas spend most of their time in trees. Their semi-retractable claws help them move from branch to branch with dexterity.
2. Like the giant panda, red pandas sport a false thumb, which is actually an extension of the wrist bone.
3. The loss of nesting trees and bamboo in the Eastern Himalayas—the location of almost 50 percent of the red panda’s habitat—is causing a decline in red panda populations across much of their range. WWF works with local communities to reduce human impact on the species’ habitat.
4. These rusty-furred creatures tend to live alone, only rarely traveling in pairs or in families.
5. Much smaller than their famous black-and-white cousins, red pandas measure in at just larger than a domestic cat.
6. Red pandas feed mainly on leaves and bamboo, but occasionally snack on fruit, insects, bird eggs and small lizards, too.
7. The red panda is the state animal of the Indian state of Sikkim. In 2011, WWF helped the government declare that the state held an estimated 300 red pandas. We also monitor red pandas in their habitat across India, Nepal and Bhutan.