Red Panda

Ailurus Fulgens

In Sikkim, Darjeeling, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, the bamboo grows thick and the forest canopy is dense.

But if you are intrepid enough to explore these environs, you’ll be totally enchanted by a small, rust-red furry animal, which has been nicknamed the Firefox.

This is the Red Panda, a critically endangered species, that only survives in northeast India.

In 2004, a conservation project which introduced two females into Singalila park met with success.

Today there are 30 Red Pandas in the park, which is a heavily protected zone that is dedicated to preserving its habitat.

Compact and lithe, the Red Panda is literally a bright-eyed, bushy tailed creature. It spends most of its time amid the fur, pine and bamboo thickets.

One of the best places to view the Red Panda is Singalila Wildlife Sanctuary, near Darjeeling, which is a protected habitat to preserve this species.

Red Pandas are elusive creatures and it takes a discerning eye to pick them out among the leaves.

Encounters Asia’s experienced trackers and guides in Singalila have tremendous knowledge and insight on the Red Panda’s movements, and lead you deep into the forest to observe this creature in its natural environment.

Singalila is a stunning park with wild orchids, dense forest, and gorgeous views overlooking Kanchendzonga and an entire range of the Eastern Himalayas.

It is located on the trekking trail to Sandhakphu, which is on the border of India and Nepal. The terrain is hilly, and chances are that you’ll have to hike a little bit before you find your Red Panda on the steep mountain slopes, devouring Sarbuz berries. An unusual feature is it’s “thumb” which helps it to pick out bamboo shoots. They are shy creatures, and tend to quickly move away into the tree canopy to avoid revealing themselves.