Five red pandas spotted in Langtang National ParkOfficials say it was the first ever sightings of these elusive creatures in multiple numbers within the same area.
An anti-poaching patrol team from the Langtang National Park recently spotted five red pandas (Ailurus fulgens) at Polangpati area in Rasuwa.
“It was the first ever sightings of these extremely rare creatures in multiple numbers within the same area,” Shiva Lal Gaire, the park’s information officer, said.
These sightings took place 20 days ago while the patrol team was scanning the Polangpati area.
The five red pandas were spotted among foliage of trees, said Nakpu Dorje Tamang. He is part of the anti-poaching patrol outfit composed of the park officials and community members.
“The local community has been working closely with the park to conserve red pandas and to check poaching inside the park,” Tamang said.
According to the national park officials, Cholangpati, Gupche, Polangpati and Dhokachet Kharka in Gosainkunda Rural Municipality-5 are the main habitats of red pandas.
The exact number of red pandas in the park is unknown.
The park officials say it is difficult to conduct red panda census because these creatures are highly elusive and live in inaccessible areas.
Known as Habre in Nepali, red pandas live in temperate forests with an abundance of bamboo in Nepal, India, Bhutan, northern Myanmar and southwestern China.
According to the World Wildlife Fund estimates, there are less than 10,000 red pandas left in the world.
Unsustainable construction of roads through red panda habitat, deforestation, forest fires, poaching, excessive grazing, attack from the predators along with loss of major food are major challenges facing red panda conservation.
Red panda is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and included in Appendix I of CITES.
The National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1973 has also categorised red panda as a protected species of Nepal.
The law states that a person convicted of trading red panda and their parts can be slapped with a jail term of one to 10 years and a fine up to Rs 500,000.