Red panda (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) an endangered species inhabits foothills of eastern Himalayas are less studied and deprived in scientific documentation, costing its conservation efforts to be faint. Behavioural pattern is fundamental to understand species and improve the conservation practices. Activity and feeding pattern of eight captive red pandas housed at two different places viz., display and conservation breeding centre; totaling 55% captive population, were studied at Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Darjeeling, India for three consecutive months of summer acquiring 384 hours of observation. The percent mean activity and feeding behaviour was taken out per hour of observation. Red panda's activity pattern (χ2 = 48.540, p = 0.000) and feeding pattern (χ2 = 31.716, p = 0.000) found to be significant across the day length, they are more active at dusk (58.83±4.330), intermediately active at day time (39.69±2.113) and less active at dawn (15.17±2.367). While feeding have been recorded considerably high at dusk (8.73±1.958) then at day time (1.99±0.328) and dawn (1.19±0.679). The mean feeding found to be insignificant between the two housing places (U = 1.692E4, p = 0.660) but mean activity found to be significant (U = 1.379E4, p = 0.001). Overall the captive red panda were highly active at dusk with showing intermediate activity at day time and preferring feeding at dusk. The study helps to understand species closely and provides baseline data for ex-situ red panda conservation programme at the park and rest of the world.
Keywords: Red panda, Activity pattern, Captivity, Conservation breeding, Eastern Himalayas, Endangered species
1,4 A.V.C. College (Autonomous), Mayiladuthurai-609305, Tamil Nadu, India
2,3 Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Darjeeling-734101, West Bengal, India