Although red pandas like to eat bamboo and live in China’s bamboo forests with giant pandas, don’t let their name fool you. Formerly known as lesser pandas, DNA studies show that red pandas represent a unique family that diverged from the rest of the carnivore order, so they are now placed in their own unique family: Ailuridae. The Chinese name for the red panda is hun-ho, meaning fire fox. The red panda’s reddish coat and white face mask offer camouflage among the red moss and white lichen that cover the trees of its bamboo forest home. San Diego Zoo Global supports the Red Panda Network, a nonprofit organization that identifies unprotected red panda habitat and trains “forest guardians” to conduct awareness-building workshops on red pandas at local villages and work with villagers to establish new protected areas. Forest guardians also continue baseline research and monitoring of red panda populations.
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