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Living Fossils - Shanmugam IAS academy in coimbatore
red pandas

RED PANDAS ARE TWO SPECIES

What’s in news?

The Chinese Academy of Sciences have discovered that the red panda species are actually two separate species.

Key data’s:

  • Earlier, both the Himalayan red pandas and the Chinese red Pandas were together considered as red panda species. However, the DNA analysis says that there are two separate species.
  • The small mammals, which are already endangered, are native to China, Nepal, India, Bhutan and Myanmar.
  • Although red pandas’ physical differences have led many to speculate that two species did exist, this research is the first time the theory has been proven.
  • Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and Kunming found there are Himalayan red pandas and Chinese red pandas.
  • Using data from 65 wild red pandas from across Asia, researchers found each species had distinct DNA.
  • The Himalayan red panda is distributed in Nepal, Bhutan, northern India, northern Myanmar, Tibet and the western Yunnan province of China, while the Chinese red panda inhabits the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of China.
  • The Yalu Zangbu river marks the geographical boundary between the two species.
  • The two species differ in face. The Himalayan Red Panda has more white spots in its face and Chinese red panda is redder with less white on it. The tail rings of the Chinese Red Panda is darker and paler as compared to the Himalayan Red Panda.

Threats and Conservation:

  • Deforestation is the major threat of the red panda species. The Red Pandas are called “Living Fossils” as they are the only living member of the Ailuridae mammalian family. The IUCN Red List has categorized Red Pandas as “Endangered”.

Yalu Zangbu river:

  • The Yalu Zangbu is also called Yarlung Zangpo or Yarlung Tsangpo. It is the upper stream of the Brahmaputra river. It is the longest river in Tibet.

Living Fossils

Links to note:

https://www.iasipstnpsc.in/migratory-species/

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/27/world/red-panda-species-scli-intl-scn/index.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/28/red-pandas-are-actually-two-separate-species-study-finds

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