I think it is a good question raised by one of my friends who is an avid lover of forest, wild animals more particularly Red Panda and wild fruits, not necessarily in that order though. He used to read all my blog posts regarding:
- Animal safaris
- Bird watching
- Endemic wildlife
- Wild animal migration
- Jungle lodges and cottages
Fun facts about Red Panda
- Red pandas are also called “Red Cat Bear” because of their bear-like body (furry) and cat-like face. However, red pandas do not eat red meat like bear. They mostly eat bamboo, fruits, and nuts rarely small insects.
- where are red pandas found in India? Red pandas are found only in the North-East India that include West Bengal, Meghalaya, and Arunachal Pradesh; Nepal, Sikkim and China. They are not found anywhere else in the world.
- Red Pandas are arboreal animals (they mostly live on trees).
Place to see Red Pandas in India
Singalila National Park, Darjeeling, West Bengal.
This lush green hilly area is part of the Singalila National Park is located at the Singalila ridge in Darjeeling district, West Bengal.
The Singalila ride runs from north to south through Sikkim and Nepal.
The Singalila National Park is home to our topic animal Red Panda.It is a red panda habitat.
Oh, that doesn’t mean there are no other wild animals and birds living in the Singalila National Park. You can easily spot pangolin and Himalayan newt (a kind of forest lizard)
This not-so-friendly-looking reptile is said to be endangered. I wonder who preys on it!
If you are lucky, you can also spot the big cat Leopard. Another rare animal that lives in the Singalila park is the yellow-throated marten.
Some rarer Himalayan wild animals that you can see along with red panda in the Singalila national park are:
- Chinkara, a kind of deer that is also called Indian gazelle
- Barking deer
- Himalayan Black Bear
- Clouded Leopard
- Black Panther
To me, the yellow-throated marten looks like another panda, very furry and a thick furry tail.
The Singalila ridge’s highest peak is called ‘Sandakphu at nearly 12,000 feet.
Avian species found in the Singalila National Park.
What a beauty! I just cannot take my eyes away from this gorgeous looking Himalayan bird.
Satyr Tragopan is the name of this stunning-looking bird that can be spotted in the Singalila National Park, India.
Other birds that you can spot in Singalila Nationa Park while you are on a specific Red Panda safari are:
- Blood Pheasants
- Fire-tailed Myzornis
- Brown Parrotbills
- Fulvous Parrotbills
- Golden-breasted Fulvettas
- Rufous-fronted Tits
- Scarlet Minivet
- Sylendor Billed Babbler
- Kalij Pheasant
- Red Throated Hill Partridge
Of all the bird species that live in the Singalila National Park, I think the Spotted Laughingthrush is the second most beautiful bird.
Sure, you have your encounter with a few red panda while visiting the Singalila National Park but I would not miss spotting these exotic Himalayan birds if I were you. They are just too beautiful to put into words.
How to reach the Singalila National Park to have a date with Red Panda?
As you need to start the trek on the Himalayan mountain to watch the red panda and other wildlife, you need to begin your trek from Manebhanjan village, 30 km from Darjeeling.
There is an alternative starting point to the Red Panda habitat. You can reach Siliguri first from wherever you are and take a car up to Tonglu that is at a distance of 90 km from Siliguri. Tonglu is where you start you red panda safari.
Oh yes, there is a third approach. You can take a train from Siliguri and get down at Tonglu.).
For reaching quickly by air, find a flight to Bagdogra Airport from your city of origin.
Where to stay in Singalila park?
A few trekkers’ huts are located at various points through the trekking path. I think it is a brilliant idea to offer staying options to the trekkers on their way itself. The tired walkers would eagerly grab the huts. They might even catch a glimpse of one or two red pandas near the trekkers’ hut.
Red Panda in Darjeeling zoo
There is a zoo in Darjeeling and it is named as, “Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park”. In this place also, you can see red pandas if you are not keen on seeing them in their own habitat in the Singalila forest area.
Guide service to see the Red Panda and the Singalila National Park.
Reading about the rare red pandas and other rare Himalayan birds and animals would urge you to plan your first red panda trip in the Himalayas. While you are ther, please note that you certainly need a knowledgeable guide to take you inside the Singalila National park. Approach the following places to hire your red panda guide.
- Dhotray – Nature Guides Association
- Maneybhanjyang- Highlander Guides and Porters Welfare Association
- Rimbick – Rimbick Guide Association
If you need help in hiring a guide or to book a cottage in the national park, you can contact:
*Deputy Director of Tourism, Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, Silver fir, Bhanu Sarani, Darjeeling Phone: (+91) 0354-225-4879/5351
If you are starting From Calcutta to start your Red Panda journey, you can approach:
*GTA Tourism, Gorkha Bhavan, Salt Lake (GTA Lodge Booking & Info)
No. DD28, Sector 1, Salt Lake City, Kolkata – 700064
Gorkha Bhavan is located opposite the City Center Mall.
Mobile: (+91) 99031 74047, Landline: 033 – 23377534
When you reach Darjeeling, here is one more official help center:
G.T.A., Secretariat Office, Lalkoti, Darjeeling, India.
Phone : (0354) 2255022
There are four more places in India where you can see the elusive Red Panda.
- Nokrek National Park, Meghalaya
- Namdapha National Park, Arunachal Pradesh
- Neora Valley National Park, Kalimpong Hills, Darjeeling
- Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim
Oh, the Red Pandas, I will come meet you soon.