Re-wilding red pandas: Darjeeling zoo attempts country’s first augmentation of endangered mammal in the wild

Source: The post is based on the article “Re-wilding red pandas: Darjeeling zoo attempts country’s first augmentation of endangered mammal in the wild” published in The Hindu on 10th July 2022.

What is the News?

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park has started an ambitious programme to release 20 Red Pandas in about five years to the forests. Singalila National Park will get Red Pandas as part of this programme.

What is Red Panda?

Red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a small mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China.

Conservation status

  • IUCN Red List: Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife Protection Act 1972: Schedule I

Habitat: The red panda inhabits coniferous forests as well as temperate broadleaf and mixed forests, favouring steep slopes with dense bamboo cover close to water sources. 

– It is solitary and largely arboreal. 

– It is the state animal of Sikkim.

Threats: Almost 50% of the red panda’s habitat is in the Eastern Himalayas. The loss of nesting trees and bamboo is causing a decline in red panda populations across much of their range because their forest home is being cleared.

What is Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park?

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is located in Darjeeling in West Bengal. 

The zoo was opened in 1958. It is the largest high-altitude zoo in India.

The zoo is internationally recognized for its conservation breeding programmes for Red Panda, Snow Leopards, Tibetan Wolf and other highly endangered animal species of Eastern Himalayas.

What is Singalila National Park?

Singalila National Park is located in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is the highest protected area in West Bengal. The park is part of the Eastern Himalayas. 

The two highest peaks of West Bengal, Sandakphu and Phalut are located on the ridge and inside the park. 

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