Endangered red panda seen in Lamjung for the first time

LAMJUNG: The endangered red panda species has been traced for the first time in Marsyangdi Rural Municipality of Lamjung district.

A team led by zoologist Ganesh Ghimire with the help of local guide Mait Bahadur Gurung of Ghermu, Lamjung, successfully recorded a video of red panda strolling in its habitat near Naphada River in the jungle of Lekali.

Prior to this discovery, there was no red panda sighting in the region, nevertheless, their droppings were found in abundance, according to the Red Panda Network.

The research carried out to find the sign of red panda's existence or habitation was funded by the UK-based Rufford Foundation in coordination with the Red Panda Network, the latter stated.

The network's programme manager Saroj Shrestha said that a species of the red panda was found by Zoologist Ghimire in the jungle of Lekali at an altitude of 3,500 metres and can be reached after walking for 2 days from Ghermu.

Zoologist Ghimire said, "We have recorded a zoomed video of the endangered mammal from a distance but we were unable to take photos from a closer distance." Citing the droppings of the solitary mammal in abundance, he assumed that the population of red panda in the region could be large.

Red Panda is listed as an endangered species because its population has plausibly declined by 50 per cent over the last three generations. It is categorised as the genus Ailurus and species fulgens of mammalia in the animal kingdom, and is native to the eastern Himalayas, according to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

It is arboreal, feeds mainly on bamboo, but also eats eggs, birds, and insects. It is a solitary animal, mainly active from dusk to dawn, and is largely sedentary during the day.