Safe haven in Fouta and the Himalayas in Dublin, but the red panda is under stress in the wild

Climbing mammals tend to be small, but there are exceptions.

The Orange Otan, the ‘old man of the woods’, may tip the scales at 140kg – twice its human weight – and yet it spends 90% of its 50-year life in a canopy.

Goats are sure mountain climbers. Feed from 8 to 10 meters of thorny Moroccan argania trees, they present an extraordinary sight. Trees benefit scattered their seeds in goat dung.

10-year-old snow leopard “Tashi” in the Himalayas, home of red pandas and snow leopards at Dublin Zoo. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Dublin Zoo has opened a new facility for two distinguished climbers. The Himalayan Hillstarget Gallery=”_blank”rel=”noopener noreferrer”>, which recreates the atmosphere of a Nepalese mountain village, is now home to snow leopards. It also supports the lovable red panda, which also breeds in the Futa Wildlife Parktarget. take special measures of this type in a timely manner; The results of the research, just published, show that the panda is classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. [International Union for Conservation of Nature]facing new challenges in the jungles of Nepal.

The name “panda” originally referred to the red species. Only later was it applied to the familiar giant of “panda diplomacy” and the symbol of the World Wildlife Fund. Despite appearances, the two panda species are not closely related. After decades of heated debate, scientists agree that the giant panda, despite being a bamboo-eating vegetarian, is a bear that diverged from its carnivorous cousins ​​about 19 million years ago. DNA analysis suggests that the red panda may be more closely related to mustelids, such as weasels and skunks. Its source is complex and the taxonomic jury may still be out of the ordinary.

Snow Leopard Spot!  In the hills of the Himalayas at Dublin Zoo.  Photo: Sam Boal/
Snow Leopard Spot! In the hills of the Himalayas at Dublin Zoo. Photo: Sam Boal/

Damper Besta of the University of Queensland installed satellite tracking collars on red pandas in Nepal. These enabled him to track animals without leaving his home in Australia during the COVID lockdowns. Besta spent hours each day recording the panda’s movements on his computer. Some people were special. Chintapu, an adult male, covered 5 kilometers in a 24-hour period – an unusual feat for a panda.

It is estimated that about 10,000 red pandas remain in the wild, between 500 and 1,000 of them in Nepal. The forests they inhabit are steadily being reduced in size, cleared for housing and agriculture.

New routes are being cut through the main panda habitat; Noise and disturbance by people, dogs and livestock takes a heavy toll. These vulnerable animals are forced into close contact with hunters and predators. Six species of cats, and three other nocturnal enemies were recorded in the Pista study area. Roads, not dirt tracks, increasingly restrict the panda’s movements. The local population is at risk of breeding.

The study results suggest that while the red panda can adapt to changes in its environment to some extent, it is no longer able to do so appropriately. A University of Queensland press release reads: “The red panda alters its activity to reduce its reactivity to disturbances, such as human dogs or livestock, and this interferes with normal interactions between animals, isolating the population.”

Besta and colleagues recommend avoiding road construction “in most if not all environmentally critical locations” and “restrictions on vehicle speeds should be maintained.”

Will red pandas eventually survive in zoos?

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