Urgent protection needed for endangered red panda in northern Kachin

photo 2 sskm
A rare red panda spotted in its habitat in northern Kachin State.

Rare red pandas in the northernmost part of Kachin State should be protected because their habitat is shrinking, wildlife observers say.
An observer said they are hunted for meat, and their habitat has shrunk due to increased extraction of timber and bamboo.
Red pandas are found in Hkakaborazi National Park, Hponkanrazi Wildlife Sanctuary, Majel Mountain and Imaw Bum area, and their habitat is mainly in the adjoining areas between Myanmar and China and the mountains between Myanmar and India.
These areas have suitable weather, tall temperate trees, pine forests, mountain trees and bamboo for red pandas to live in. Based on camera traps from previous years, they are seemed to be Chinese red pandas because of their tails and facial features, but the genetics of those in Myanmar need to be tested to be sure.
“Red pandas’ habitat is decreasing due to timber and bamboo extraction in northern Kachin State. And they are hunted for misinformation that they are medicinal. In particular, they are being poached because there is demand from abroad. Most are caught dead for sale, and only a few are caught alive,” he said.
The red panda is a solitary animal that prefers to live covertly in densely forested areas. It feeds mainly on bamboo shoots and leaves, usually foraging at dawn and dusk when it is most active. It breeds in early winter.
“Red panda is listed as an endangered species. They are quite rare. So, they should be protected. We are deeply touched because these lovely little red pandas are facing life-threatening danger, so I’d like to suggest they should be protected urgently,” said another observer. — MT/ZN

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