An arboreal panda
Even if the giant panda is no exception in needing to climb, the undisputed master of the Asian tree canopy is the red panda. This small mammal, also called the “firefox” by the Chinese, is physically well-designed for this lifestyle. In fact, it possesses a long tail as a balance and large paws with claws, allowing it to grip onto the bark of trees. It is even one of the few mammals with the ability to descend from summits head-first.
A sixth finger…
Like giant pandas, they have a sixth digit, also considered to be a false thumb, allowing it to seize its food. Even though 95% of its diet consists of bamboo, the red panda is nevertheless a carnivore, as it certainly possesses those famous, sharp molars called carnassial teeth.
Wild populations under threat
Like many animals in Asia, the frenetic pace of the eastern world disturbs these timid creatures. Pushed back to the relative safety of the hills of Himalaya by human activity, the red panda may only be found at altitudes of between 2,500 and 4,800m. The disappearance of its habitat inevitably causes a disturbing decrease in wild populations.