SUBJECT :The Padamaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (PNHZP) here will release four red pandas into the wild by September this year. 

Himalayan Red Panda

Darjeeling, April 25, 2019: The Padamaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (PNHZP) here will release four red pandas into the wild by September this year.

Vinod Kumar Yadav, member-secretary of the West Bengal Zoo Authority, made the announcement in Darjeeling on Wednesday while speaking at the inauguration of the four-day Red Panda Global Species Management Plan workshop.

“By September this year, four red pandas will be introduced in the Singalila range. Genetic and DNA studies have been completed while other studies like habitat evaluation is going on,” said Yadav.

Darjeeling zoo has been conducting one of the most successful conservation and breeding programme for red pandas and snow leopards in the world.

Four Pandas have already been released into the wild by PNHZP. “One red panda (which was released in the wild) died but other have merged with the wild population with one even breeding,” said Yadav.

There are currently 21 red pandas at the breeding centre in Darjeeling zoo, which includes 13 females and 8 males.

The zoo is currently hosting a global species management plan workshop where participants from more than 10 countries are attending.

Angela Glatson, convener, Red Panda Global species Management Plan, said: “The programme was launched in 2012 in Rotterdam zoo and in the continent, there is regional breeding program of red panda where zoos coopereate with each other to optimize the population of red pandas.”

During the four-day workshop, the participants will also visiting the PNHZP’s breeding centres at Topgaydara, about 12 kilometeres from Darjeeling and the ‘soft release site for red panda” at Gairibas in Singalila National Park.

Glatson said: “There is also an overarching global program which tries to manage the numb er of red pabdas in zoos around the world and one of the purpose of this program is to support red pandas in the world either by rasing money for conservation or by holding a reserve population of the animal and stop it from being extinct in the world.”

During the workshop, experts are expected to work towards maintaining a genetically and demographically sustainable “back-up” population of red pandas and also explore the potential to supply individual (zoo and similar institutions) for supplementation or reintroduction programs.

Ravi Kant Sinha, Chief wildlife warden of the state government said a Rs 17-crore proposal for expansion of conservation breeding centre for red pandas and snow leopards were also being work out.

Source: The Telegraph India