August 17, 2011
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A red panda named Biru at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Central Park Zoo. Photo by: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.
The red panda ((Ailurus fulgens) is found in China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, and Myanmar. Once believed to be in the bear family (like the giant panda), the species is now has its own genus in the Musteloidea, which represents weasels, raccoons, and skunks.
The red panda is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List due to habitat loss, forest fragmentation, inbreeding, and poaching for their fur and tails. Researchers estimate that 2,500 survive in wild with the population in on-going decline.
For more on red pandas: Red pandas may be threatened by small-scale trade.