Singalila National Park


  • The Singalila National Park, the highest protected area in West Bengal, will soon get new denizens. A zoo in the picturesque Darjeeling Hills has started an ambitious programme to augment the wild red panda population.

Key Details

  • In the first re-wilding programme of red pandas (Ailurus fulgens) in India, the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park has started an ambitious programme to release 20 of these furry mammals in about five years to the forests.

    Singalila National Park
    Photo Credit: Wikipedia
  • The number of red pandas has been declining in the wild, even in the Singalila and Neora Valley National Parks, the two protected areas where the endangered mammal is found in the wild in West Bengal.
  • The Padmaja Naidu park, at a height of about 2,000 metres above the sea level, is one of the high-altitude zoos in the country and has been quite successful in captive breeding of the furry mammals.
  • A conservation breeding centre at Topkey Dara in Darjeeling where cubs are kept away from human presence.

Back to Basics

About Red Panda

  • Categorised as an endangered species as per IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, red pandas are shy, solitary and arboreal animals and considered an indicator species for ecological change.
  • They are also one of the most iconic species in terms of their importance to global conservation.
  • A couple of recent publications by scientists of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have resolved the mystery around the demography and speciation in red panda.
  • The studies have concluded that India is home to both the (sub) species Himalayan red panda (Ailurus fulgens) and the Chinese red panda (Ailurus styani) and the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh splits the two phylogenetic species.

About the Singalila National Park

  • The park is part of the Eastern Himalayas.
  • The Singalila Ridge, which runs roughly North to South and separates Himalayan West Bengal from the other Eastern Himalayan ranges to the west of it.
  • Lying within the park is Sandakphu top, one of the highest peaks in West Bengal, offering one of the best places for viewing stunning sunrises and sunsets, along with views of Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak.
  • The two highest peaks of West Bengal, Sandakphu (3630 m) and Phalut (3600 m), are located on the ridge and inside the park. Rammam river and Srikhola River flow through the park.
    • The Singalila Ridge is a north–south mountain ridge running from northwestern West Bengal through Sikkim in the Indian part of the Himalayas.
    • The district of Ilam in Nepal falls on the western part of this ridge.


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