The Red Panda is endemic to the Himalayas in Bhutan, southern China, India, Laos, Nepal, and Burma. The estimated population is of less than 2,500 mature individuals, and it keeps declining due to habitat fragmentation.
In spite of being classified as a carnivore, this mammal is almost completely herbivorous, eating mostly bamboo. A red panda can consume up to 45 percent of its body weight daily, eating approximately 200,000 bamboo leaves per day.
Red Pandas are cavity nesters, using rock dens and old hollow trees. They are very sensitive to heat: they prefer temperatures between 17 and 25°C, and cannot tolerate temperatures over 25°C at all. Because of this and because their bamboo diet is low in calories, they often spend the day drooped over a branch high in the trees, saving energy during the day and feeding at dawn and dusk, when it is cooler.
The picture of this red panda was taken in Melbourne, Australia, in December 2006, by Catherine Foundalis.
Life on Earth