Four Cubs of Red Panda will find freedom in the wild of Singalila Darjeeling

Four Cubs of Red Panda will find freedom in the wild of Singalila Darjeeling
Darjeeling, Apr 25: Four cubs of Red Panda, a highly endangered illusive species of the eastern Himalaya, born and nursed in captivity in the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (PNHZP) in this hill town, are set to be freed in the wild before this winter, a zoo authority said here.
The illusive animals, sustain life only by eating bamboo shoots and leaf, will find freedom in the wild of the Singalila National Park around September-October this year as part of their conservation program for the highly endangered species. Singalila National Park is a national park of India located on the Singalila Ridge at an altitude of more than 7,000 feet above sea level, in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is well known for the trekking route to Sandakphu that runs through it. West Bengal Zoo Authority member-secretary Vinod Kumar Yadav told UNI that a decision has been taken those four red pandas will be released at the Singalila National Park within this year with it likely to take place during September-October. He said this in the sidelines of a 4-day seminar on Red Panda Global Species Management Plan Workshop which started in a hotel here.
The red panda is a mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List because the wild population is estimated at fewer than 10,000 mature individuals and continues to decline due to habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, and inbreeding depression. Mr Yadav said a draft plan has already been made and submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Forest. Apart from that the genetic studies has already been done along with the DNA and fingerprinting of red pandas with more studies going on of the wild. Currently the jungle habitat evaluation was being made for mapping with satellite photography on the national park where the red pandas to find a new home for them in the wild.
Till now as part of the program of the red panda that is being undertaken by the PNHZP since 1983 four red pandas have been left during the period of 2002-2004 in the Singalila National Park namely Sweety and Millie and Dolma and Nilam. Out of this four Milli died reportedly killed by a leopard with Sweety on the other hand giving birth to an offspring.
A census is also being done on the red panda from last year in two ways one being physically by visiting the nests and the other through analysis of their scat for which research is going on at present and the number will be finalized in the wild. In the PNHZP there are presently 21 red pandas in the zoo, at an elevation of about 7,000 ft from sea level, the largest zoo on the highest point in India. (UNI)
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Four cubs of Red Panda, a highly endangered illusive species of the eastern Himalaya, born and nursed in captivity in the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (PNHZP) in this hill town

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