Sunday, Jan 14, 2024 08:45 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Jan 14, 2024 03:10 [IST]

Near-Extinct Red Panda Spotted in Sikkim’s Gnathang

In a thrilling encounter, team sighted the Red Panda near their tree plantation site

Team encountered a near-extinct Red Panda, near their plantation sites in Gnathang, on the outskirts of the Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary. Classified as 'Endangered' and receiving the highest legal protection under the IUCN Red List and the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, the Red Panda holds great cultural significance as a symbol of Sikkim. At the Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary, however, it is hard to come across this elusive creature due to its dwindling numbers. Conservation efforts led by WWF India in the eastern Himalayan region have been ongoing since 2005 to protect this unique indicator species as its well-being also reflects the health of the forest ecosystem.

Since 2010, tree plantation initiatives, particularly the 'Trees for Ecotourism' projects led by have improved forest health and  habitats across India. And it is this sustained work that has resulted in an unexpected encounter with a Red Panda near a lush plantation site. This discovery also reinforces the commitment of the environmental enterprise to support more tree plantation projects to rehabilitate and enable rare species like the Red Panda to reclaim their natural habitats.

Travel company MakeMyTrip also recognizes the importance of wildlife, nature and tourism and has partnered with to support plantations in this area. MakeMyTrip provides assistance and trains local community to build homestays and become local guides to encourage tourism and vitalize the local economy.

Many ongoing projects of continue to additionally uplift local communities apart from contributing to biodiversity preservation. The team asserts that the encounter with the Red Panda serves as a powerful testament to the success of their consistent efforts to demonstrate that a harmonious coexistence between nature and humanity is essential and possible.


Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi