May 1, 2018-Red pandas, the shy and charismatic endangered mammal species, have been found in Tinjure-Milke-Jaljala forest area in Tehrathum, Sankhuwasabha and Taplejung districts. 

During a month-long study by the Friends of Nature, an organisation working in conservation sector, spotted red pandas through the camera-trapping method. The organisation carried out the study regarding the habitat in Tinjure-Milke-Jaljala forest, which is known as capital of rhododendron, with the financial support of the Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN).  
According to RRN Programme Manager Kamal Thapa, two red pandas were captured on the cameras installed in the forest near Milke Bhanjyang of Sankhuwasabha. Conservationists said it is now proved that the Tinjure-Milke-Jaljala forest area that spreads across three districts is the habitat of the endangered species. The forest area where the red pandas were trapped lies at an altitude of around 3,400 metres. 
A team of experts led by Raju Acharya has carried out the study for past few months in upper land of these three districts. The team recovered red pandas in the mixed forest of rhododendron, bamboo and pine. With the findings of the red panda, the RRN has urged the local units, community forests, various other organisations and local people to launch awareness campaign to conserve the endangered species. 
Red Panda, known as Habre in Nepali, is one of the rare animal species inhabiting the temperate forests with abundance of bamboo in Nepal, India, Bhutan, northern Myanmar and southwestern China. The estimated number of red panda is less than 10,000 in the world and around 1,000 in Nepal.
Conservationists say unsustainable construction of roads through red panda habitat, deforestation, forest fire, poaching, attack from the predators along with the loss of food source are major challenges facing the red panda conservation. Moreover, parasitic infections found in red panda during a recent study is another cause for concern.