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Jillian Roybal's Red Panda Report
Project Name : Jillian Roybal's Red Panda Report
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Red Panda
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Planet Earth has consisted of so many interesting species of creatures throughout millions of years. Today we have an abundant amount of economic issues causing large numbers of our plants and animals to become endangered (Heath 2012, 6). The Red Panda also known scientifically as "Ailurus fulgens" has made its way into the top ten most endangered species list. Red Pandas are not going to be able to survive much longer because we are cutting down their bamboo forests, impacting their ability to find food and eat. 

To begin, the scientific name for the red panda is Ailurus fulgens.  Its name means the word "poonya" which is defined as panda (Roberts 1992, 1). The Ailurus fulgen is an endangered species because we are chopping down the bamboo forests, getting in the way of the red pandas habitat, and man is taking all of their resources that they need to survive (Cooper 2010, 5).  We are the main cause of the red panda loss. The red panda had gotten its name because it was originally thought to be a cross between a raccoon and bear, but through more and more studies we had realized it had to be categorized as a raccoon and part of the Ailurus family because they are not a bear, they derived from the raccoon family. They are not an actual panda bear, although they have the same ways of doing things and have the same interests, they are thought out to be the panda that is not an animal under the same category as a bear (Sneah 2011,1).  
The classification of its kingdom is called the Animalia  because they are a type of animal. Their Phylum is known as the Chordata. A Chordata usually consists of containing a tail, dorsales, and even gills when the egg is an embryo. The class is Mammalia because they obtain hair, glands, they breathe air, and they have three middle ear bones. The order is Carnivora, they eat meat, but still feed mainly on fruits, insects, and bamboo. The family is Ursidae. The Ursidae family usually has a big round head, round ears, small eyes, tail, strong legs. Their genus is Ailurus. An Ailurus is known as a lesser panda. And lastly the species name is called Ailururs fulgens because that is the scientific name for that creature (Heath 2012,1).

Ailurus fulgens are found in Asia. They are generally found in the higher ranges in the cooler parts of mountains and can be seen in bamboo forests and on high tree tops. They like the cooler climate because they have a very thick coat of fur Ailurus fulgens are found in several parts of Asia including the Himalayan mountains, Burma, Nepal, Sikkim a part in India, and Sichuan and Yunnan which are in China (Heath 2012,1).  The Red Pandas can be found in higher elevations surrounded by bamboo and berries, and can also be seen up in tall tree branches. In China many of the Red Pandas are as high up as  5,000 to 15,000 ft (Cooper 2010,1). 

The Red pandas average weight ranges from 12 to 20 pounds and they have a rounded head, ears, and belly. Also they have very short bodies along with a 22 to 25 inch bushy tail. They have a reddish, orange color along their bodies and on their tail they have six yellow stripes wrapping around the fluffy fur.The tail helps them keep their balance when climbing trees and other obstacles, along with their sharp nails to grip the tree trunks when climbing. They also have a unique look because they have black fur on there shoulders and legs.  Red pandas have four legs and walk on all fours. The ears and eyes are white with lines branching down to their throat and sometimes wrapping around their ears (Heath 2012, 2). They have such different but natural color to help them blend in with the tree branches so that prey cannot see them. The Ailurus fulgens are known to have a false thumb and sharp claws to attack prey. The thumb helps them grab fruits easier.
The red pandas' behavioral adaptations start with them being very solitary. They eat fruits, bamboo, and tiny insects. Although they are carnivores they still will eat bamboo as their main diet. They move by pushing foward with their hind leg like a horse, the momentum to move starts with the back  legs and heads up to the front as they walk on all fours. The life cycle of the red panda is that they are born between spring and summer. 130 days after mating, the cub is blind for three weeks and after they nurse for about 90 days or once they are ready to go and live on their own they are set free to learn how to stay alive. After a full year the cubs become adults and can live up to seven years alone and 11 to 13 in captivity (Heath 2012, 3).

The Ailurus fulgens are nocturnal and eat at night, this gives them the ability to seek out food without competition of the other animals that feed on the same food during the day. Also, they have an extra finger on their front claws making it much easier to grab fruits off plants (Michaels 2007, 3).

One interesting adaptation is when climbing trees or trying to run from something they have a big and bushy tail to keep it from loosing  balance and falling leading to a death or pain. The tail can also be used as something to swat away any bugs flying around them. Lastly the red panda has a colored fur similar to the trees coloring to blend in, keeping the predators from spotting their prey. This works to their advantage in another way, because they can hide in a tree and when they see their prey they can leap, attack, and feast.
Physiological adaptations red pandas have is having the ability to be nocturnal.This means that they stay up and night and sleep during the day. They travel at night and sleep almost all day unless they have to get away from something. There is a great deal of land in China making it easy to find what it needs (Zhang 2007, 1) They can conserve their energy by curling up into a small ball and just rest for as long as they want to. They also have to be eating most of the time because their metabolism is use to working all the time to grind up the thick bamboo. The red panda has a hard time digesting cellulose so they can not eat all bamboo and the majority of their meal has to be fruit or bird eggs.  That is part of the reason why red pandas are picky over the food they eat.
The red panda is mainly is found up in the trees hiding from its predators. When they feel anxious or are threatened, they will try to find the nearest tree and climb to escape from its predator. At worst, if there is not enough time to hide the red panda will stand on its hind legs and start scratching with its claws to make it look bigger and meaner. Another interesting fact about these creatures is that they are nocturnal and are always up and moving at night and generally sleeping during the day. Some red pandas prefer to be moving during dawn and dusk because less animals are out and hunting. This makes it easier to not be seen from the predators and there is less competition.

They communicate with one another by whistling and making a twittering noise (Roberts 1992, 1). A second way they communicate is by marking their scent to tell each other where one is headed. They do this instead of making their call so that they can not be heard by their hunters.

The survival status of the red panda is that they are threatened and are endangered because many people take their fur and use them for hats or at wedding celebrations. Their fur is draped over the newly weds for good luck for the rest of their life. Also we are a huge threat to them because we are taking away their forests, leaving no habitat or biome to live in, and not to forget that food is taken away too (Sneah 2011, 7).  People in our society are too concerned with themselves and have forgotten about nature and the good things that are living in the different habitats we have here on planet Earth. 
Today, scientists are studying how our planet is down to about 10,000 red pandas (Wang 2008, 1) and most of them are now under watchful eyes or held captive in zoos so that we can have them on Earth (Su 2001, 4) . They are known as Earths living fossil because there is nothing of its kind seen on our planet. When scientists took a look at the skull they saw that the jaws of the Ailurus fulgens had great biting actions because they were so strong. Also some our researchers are learning what and how the red panda eats and exactly what do they do with all of this time on their hands. The scientists are trying to make sure we can get the supplies we need to live like wood and gas, but start keeping the Ailurus fulgens in mind too because we are loosing them slowly but surely because of deforestation and man. Many red pandas have been found hidden in bamboo thickets and traveling upon trees. The scientists are closely observing these animals and making sure they are still alive because they have no harmful impact on us (Cooper 2010, 4).
Other scientists have been looking at the totals of the red pandas in different areas to see what  is going on and if they are also in other mountains that we have not  looked at yet. Our scientists found many of the Ailurus fulgens are in the same biome or close to the same environment as the Giant Panda, since the two share the same interests in certain foods and like the exact climates (Zhang 2007, 2). Scientists from China have recently discovered the fossils of the red panda and they have nick named the red panda as the walking fossil because the fossils being found are almost millions of years old and they all look the same. 
Through my own studies of research I have found that red pandas have lots of similar adaptations with many other mammals and they are endangered like most animals on Earth. Also I realized that they are very unique because they are quiet, intelligent, and have their own family the Ailurus ( Cooper 2010,7). They have the ability to go off on there own and learn how to keep themselves alive without distraction, it becomes a sixth sense as they grow older.
In the late 1800s  people called the red panda, a panda because there was a bear that looked the same, but was a little bit bigger and was fully black. I personally enjoyed learning about these fantastic creatures. I have always thought raccoons were very cute and I never knew that there was a specie that had originated from the raccoon ancestors. It made this project interesting for me and it taught me that many animals have lots of intelligence. We have to remember that animals grow up a lot quicker than man. They have to learn to survive at young ages, that to survive out in the wilderness.
In conclusion, the Ailurus fulgens will not be able to stay on Earth much longer because our wildlife and forests do not contain products the red panda needs in order to stay healthy and alive. Not only is the red panda one of our endangered and forgotten species, but all over the world we are loosing an abundant amount of animals due to humans invading other creatures habitats. The red pandas are being brought into captivity to ensure the coming of more of our red friends that mean no harm.
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