Conservation efforts for Red Panda in Gangtok zoo

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Gangtok, June 27 (ANI): In a bid to save one of nature's rarest and most beautiful animals, the Red Panda, the Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park (SHZP) in Gangtok has embarked on a breeding and conservation programme.

Red Pandas are much smaller than the giant panda. The state animal of Sikkim, the Red Pandas are found in six protected areas of the State. But they are facing extinction due to habitat loss caused by construction activity and over grazing.

To preserve and restore the habitat of the shy and reclusive animal, the Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park (SHZP) has been working on various conservation programmes since 1997.

"Red Pandas being the State animal of Sikkim, and also an endangered species of global importance, high precaution is being taken for their conservation in the Himalayan Zoological Park. And the Forest Department of the Government of Sikkim is trying to save these pandas in the wild as well as in the captive condition," said Madan K.S. Shankar, Deputy Director, Zoo and Wildlife, Sikkim.

The zoo has obtained four pandas, two pairs from the wild as part of the breeding programme.

The SHZP aims to collect a gene pool from the wild population.

Currently, the zoo is home to four male and three female healthy red pandas.

According to the zoo's report, one of the female panda has started to prepare her bedding, in anticipation of delivering her cubs.

The zoological park has already been identified as the most promising zoo for the red panda conservation programme, as it is located next to a panda habitat containing the animal's staple diet, bamboo. By Tashi Pradhan (ANI)

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