There are not one, but two types of red pandas, according to scientific research published in Sciencemag. According to the researchers, this discovery can contribute to a better breeding program for the endangered animals.
The DNA of 64 different red pandas was tested for the study. This showed that the variant that occurs in China differs so much from the red pandas in the Himalayas that it is a different species.
There are differences not only in DNA, but also in appearance. The red panda in the Himalayas has more white fur in its face and the red fur is less bright in color. The skull of the animals also has a different shape.
The fact that it turns out to be two different types can contribute to a better breeding program. By no longer crossing the two species, the unique genetic characteristics of the animals are better preserved.
According to experts, around 10,000 red pandas still live in the wild at the moment. Chinese red pandas can be found alongside China in northern Myanmar. Red pandas from the Himalayas can be found in Nepal, India, Bhutan and the province of South Tibet in China.
Red pandas are threatened by deforestation.