Red Panda

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A. f. fulgens
A. f. styani[3]

A. ochraceus Hodgson, 1847

The red panda (Ailurus fulgens), or shining cat, is a small arboreal mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China.[2] It is the only species of the genus Ailurus. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, it has reddish-brown fur, a long, shaggy tail, and a waddling gait due to its shorter front legs. It feeds mainly on bamboo, but is omnivorous and may also eat eggs, birds, insects, and small mammals. It is a solitary animal, mainly active from dusk to dawn, and is largely sedentary during the day. It is only distantly related to the giant panda.

The red panda has been classified as Vulnerable by IUCN, because its population is estimated at less than 10,000 mature individuals. Although red pandas are protected by national laws in their range countries, their numbers in the wild continue to decline mainly due to habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, and inbreeding depression.[2]

It has been previously classified in the raccoon and bear families, but recent research has placed it in its own family Ailuridae, in superfamily Musteloidea along with Mustelidae, Procyonidae, and Mephitidae.[4] Two subspecies are recognized.

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