Acta Biologica Sibirica 7: 425-439, doi: 10.3897/abs.7.e71816
A study on plant preferences of red panda (Ailurus fulgens) in the wild habitat: foundation for the conservation of the species
expand article infoBhupen Roka, Alankar K. Jha§, Dhani Raj Chhetri
‡ Sikkim University, Gangtok, India§ Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Darjeeling, India
Open Access
Abstract

The red panda is a lesser carnivore that has adapted to the herbivore diet and is distributed in the Himalayan and Hengduan mountain ranges. The study conducted on red panda in Singalila National Park recorded the highest encounter of the species within the altitude of 2800 to 3200 meters in the broad leaf deciduous and broad leaf coniferous forest. 22.22% of direct sightings of red pandas occurred on plant species belonging to the family Fagaceae and were followed by the family Ericaceae (18.52%). The plant species mostly preferred by the red panda in Singalila National Park were Lithocarpus pachyphyllus, Rhododendron arboreum, Abies densa, and Betulia utilis. During all seasons, the dominant plants found in the red panda pellets were Arundinaria maling and Arundinaria aristata.  The distribution of the red panda is influenced by the presence of the preferred plant species, therefore, through this studies effort has been made to document the plant species used by the red panda in the wild habitat.

Keywords
Conservation, plant preference, red panda, wild