Research scientists are satellite tracking the movements of Red Pandas in the mountains of Nepal.
Red Pandas (Ailurus fulgens) are endangered and there are only a few thousand individuals in their native environment in the eastern Himalayas and in southwestern China. The population numbers are declining due to habitat loss, poaching (illegal hunting), and inbreeding.
In Nepal, Red Pandas are a protected species. The conservation scientists have put Global Positioning System (GPS) collars on 10 Red Pandas to remotely monitor their range of movements in the forests near Mount Kangchenjunga.
The GPS collars can pinpoint longitude, latitude, ground speed, distance covered, and course direction. Cameras have been placed in locations to photograph the Red Pandas.
The scientists include Nepalese government officials, veterinarians, and conservation scientists in the Red Panda Network. They will study the Red Pandas for one year, and will also study how much bamboo they are eating, whether there is enough bamboo in the natural habitat, and other habitat issues. They hope to learn how to protect the Red Pandas and how to ensure that the population increases.
The 10 Red Pandas include 6 females and 4 males. Local community members have named each of them: Bhumo, Brian, Chintapu, Dolma, Mechhachha, Ngima, Ninamma, Paaru, Praladdevi, and Senehang.
[Location of photographs: Paris Zoo, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM