Conservationists are satellite tracking red pandas in the mountains of Nepal to find out more about the factors that are driving them towards extinction, a media report said. Also Read - Ladakh Standoff: India, China to Hold 4th Round of Corps Commander Level Meeting Today

The mammals are endangered with numbers down to a few thousand in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China, the BBC said in the report on Friday. Also Read - Nepal Partially Lifts Ban on Indian Private News Channels

The red panda was initially considered a relative of the raccoon because of its ringed tail, and was later thought to be related to bears. Also Read - ‘Real Ayodhya Not in India’: Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli Claims Lord Ram is Nepali Not Indian

Ten red pandas have been fitted with GPS collars to monitor their range in the forests near Mount Kangchenjunga.

The GPS collars are said to be working well and yielding “exciting data”.

The six females and four males are being tracked and photographed using camera traps in a conservation effort involving scientists, vets, government officials in Nepal and conservation group Red Panda Network.

“This is a great milestone in red panda conservation”, said Man Bahadur Khadka, director general of Nepal’s department of forests and soil conservation.

Conservationists in Nepal hope the study over the course of a year will give valuable data about how to better protect one of the last remaining populations.