Animal: Red Panda
By: Emily Cayton

Why This Animal?
Panda's have always interested me a lot. I especially like the Red Panda because last year I went to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, IL with my cousins and my cousin Mindy showed me the only Red Panda that was at the zoo. It was really cute and small and fun to watch crawl around. I love the little white spots it has around its mouth and face.I like how the Red Panda spends most its time in the branches searching for food. Also it lives in the Taiga biome which is kinda like Iowa's climate. I really like how the panda looks and the color of its soft fur.

Research Location
The biome that the Red Pandas live is the northeast Asian deciduous forest. Deciduous forests are found in mostly Asia, the areas in Asia are in southwest Japan, Russia and China. The Red Pandas are found in the slopes of the Himalayas and the mountainous forests of southwest China. The temperate deciduous forests have four seasons; spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The altitudes there are up to 4,800 meters. The red pandas generally do not go below 1,800 meters. That is a great elevation for the red panda to live in because the weather is very cool and the air is moist. Deciduous forests annual rainfall is about 30 to 60 inches, so there is a lot of water for the animals to survive. Temperate deciduous forests do not get that hot and are mostly cool temperature, which is good because red pandas are very sensitive to heat. They cannot tolerate temperatures over 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The average temperature in the temperate deciduous forest is 50° Fahrenheit. Red pandas are‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ agile ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍climbers and they use their long tail for balance. Also they use their long tail and grow thick winter coats to keep them warm in the cold temperatures. Some of the animals you might see in this area include: the European red squirrel, red- crowned crane, Japanese macaque, Siberian tiger, giant pandas, and snow leopards, which are red pandas main predators. Some trees in the area are similar to we have in the United States like, pine trees, spruce, oak, and ash trees. The vegetation also adapts to this biome like the animals. Also bamboo, which is what mostly consists in the red pandas diet. The trees grow and make seeds in the summers. When the tree runs out of energy the leaves fall off and when the snow is here the branches aren’t damaged because the branches are bare and the snow doesn’t weigh them down. The trees also grow thick bark; the bark makes it hard for animals to use as homes. So then there no damage is done to the tree and it doesn’t die.
Map of Northeast Asian Deciduous Forests

Food Web:
Wildlife Monitoring Technique-
I chose to put radio collars on the red pandas. I think radio collars are a much better way of tracking the red pandas, because if you use cameras, the camera might not get everywhere the red panda is going but the collar will. Also because before I came on my trip to China I did some research on how people track the red pandas and I saw people using more of the radio collars and not cameras. I feel like the radio collar is the best way to find out how the red panda’s habitat is like and what they do on a regular basis. Red panda’s are very lazy animals during the day. They like to sleep up in the trees during the daytime and at night they go out searching for food; the red panda’s have an interesting habitat and behaviors.

Obeservation Journal

Day 1 - I’m so excited to be studying the red panda in China. As I was walking around in the forests of china, I had troubles trying to spot a red panda, their reddish coat and white face with the red moss and white lichen on the tree. Finally I spotted one high up in the tree just sitting there. It was so fascinating to see one in person and not just in a cage at a zoo. A lot of the pandas were asleep in the trees .The panda was very small compared to their relative the giant panda. The red panda weighs around 12- 20 pounds. Since they are so small and light, it allows them to walk on small branches. I had an interesting day today of watching the red pandas behaviors. I’m going to go back to camp now and sleep for tonight.

Day 2- I had a good night sleep last night and I’m ready to go observe the pandas today! Today as I was walking around, I saw a lot of the red pandas cleaning their self by liking the front paws and then the rest of the fur or they were sleeping with their long tail covering their face. The pandas are always climbing up in the trees, their strong curved claws help them grasp the tree trunk and climb up it. Red pandas have extended wrist bones that are almost like a thumb. Their extended wrist bones help them get a grip on their bamboo, fruit or acorns. A unique behavior I saw the red pandas doing was that they would scrub their back and belly along the sides of a tree or rock. Over a few days I have discovered some unique behaviors the red pandas have. Some of the research I did before coming here is that the red pandas like to hunt for food at night. So, tonight I am going to stay up later and watch how the red pandas find their foods. I am exciting to observing the red pandas tonight!

Day 3- It was a lot of fun watching the pandas last night. It was very interesting because the red pandas are more active at night. They pandas go searching for food during the night and sleep and play during the day. The red pandas diet includes bamboo, which is the main diet, fruits, nuts, eggs, flowers, and seeds. I have noticed while observing the red pandas eat, that they can spend a lot of time searching for bamboo can be up to 13 hours. Because the red pandas like to eat the younger more tender leaves of the bamboo; unlike the red pandas the relative, the giant panda that eats all of the bamboo plant. The red panda spend most of their day up in the trees where they breed and sleep. Their small body mass helps them adapt to the small branches to climb up and down them quickly. To help cope in the colder weathers, they have a low metabolic rate, which mean they have a slow rate of burning off calories. The red pandas have a thick coat of fur that covers their entire body which allows them to conserve body heat. The pandas have several ways of adapt to the cold weathers. The red panda has a pretty normal day in the forests of china. I can wait to observe them more tomorrow and find out more now that I have the radio collars on them!

Day 4- I had a good day today of finding out more about the red pandas. I saw a lot of the different behaviors that red pandas do in a normal day. I noticed that the red pandas have certain ways of communicating is by using body language, like head bobbing or tail arching. Also the red pandas can sometimes make noises like a threatening or warning whistle that sounds like “huff quack”. The baby red panda cubs stays by their mother until their about a year old. If there is a liter a of baby red pandas then they usually live in a hollow tree or rock shelter with their mother. Another strange behavior I learned about the red panda which I thought was interesting is that they like to make their mark in their territory by peeing on it. The red pandas have very unique behaviors and were interesting to observe. I am very sad that I am going to have to go back home in a couple days and leave these wonderful red pandas. Well I can’t wait for my new adventures tomorrow.

Day 5- I am so sad that today is my last day of being in the forests of China. I have to head home tomorrow morning. While I was here I have learned a lot of unique things about the red pandas. One thing I have learned over the week while observing. One thing would be that the red panda and snow leopard have a predator-prey relationship. Today I saw a snow leopard chasing a red panda and her cub. The momma red pandas ran up the tree with her baby cub in a special hiding spot so the snow leopard couldn’t get to them. I thought it was very interesting on how the red panda reacts to the snow leopard. Earlier this week a saw a snow leopard come after a red panda and it didn’t get the chance to go up to its special hiding spot, instead it stood up on its hind legs to fight, but then the snow leopard ran away. I have seen some pretty cool things while studying the red pandas in China. I was very lucky to have such wonderful weather during the day, at night we had a few rainfalls here and there but otherwise it has been great. I am so sad that I have to leave tomorrow, but I have had a great experience! Well I am going to go to bed for the night. Goodnight!

Fellow Researcher Profile- I chose the Red Panda Network as my fellow researcher. The Red Panda Network saves red pandas lives and their habitat. To do this they have sent out 37 local villagers to monitor their local forests; also to educate other local villagers about the red pandas and how to save the forests. The Red Panda Network’s first goal is goal is to raise awareness in local villages by the red pandas habitat. Their second goal is to raise awareness worldwide. The Red Panda Network has “forest guardian” workshops that educate people on the importance of the red panda and the weakness of the Eastern Himalayan biome. In the future they plan to have “forest guardian” workshops in India. I think the Red Panda Network is a great company they work very hard to save the red pandas. I think it would be cool to take part in saving the red pandas, because I think they are a very interesting anima land they deserve to live.

This explains the limiting factors of the red pandas. The red pandas are an endangered animal.

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Roberts, Miles. "Conservation in Action | Red Panda Network." Conservation in Action | Red Panda Network. 2012. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <>.
H, Mariah. "Northeast Asian Decidous Forest." Blue Planet Biomes. 2003. Web. 13 Feb. 2012. <>.
"Red Panda: Habitat, Facts & Information, Endangered, Lifestyle, Diet, Breeding, Baby, Sounds, Behavior." Bear! Polar Bears, Panda, Koala, Black, Grizzly, Red, Brown, & More! Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <>.
"Globio." Red Pandas. Web. 23 Jan. 2012. <>.