Charikot, Dolakha, Sept. 14: Population of Red Panda, the worlds’ rarest and preserved animal, has increased in Gaurisankar Rural Municipality of Dolkha district. Population of Red Panda has increased in their habitations of Koplang of Marbu in Ward No. 7 of Gauri Shanakar Rural Municipality, Chokum, Tharsing pasture land and Gosa pasture land of Changkhu in Ward No. 6. Chief Satyanarayan Shah of Gaurisankar Conservation Area informed that the number of Red Panda might have increased to 55-60 in the area. He said that budget was allocated for Red Panda census and they would soon start collecting data of the endangered species. According to 2013 census, there were 30 to 40 Red Pandas in the area. Red Pandas are now seen near the roads of Khanikhola Hydropower Chokum Damside. Last Friday, dozer operator Pasang Sherpa of the hydropower posted a photo of a Red Panda crossing the road in Facebook. A few days back, local Bagbir Sherpa recorded a video of Red Panda playing around. Chief Shah said that such incidents indicated an increase in the population and greater activities of the Red Pandas. Dozer operator Pasang said that the Red Pandas did not get scared of people, they stayed and watched, and played among themselves. Since the Red Pandas are rare animals, Chief Shah said the hydropower should be sensitive about their habitats and safety. He said, “Since the number has increased, we are preparing to plant bamboos in the area.” He said that he had talked with every stakeholders of the district to declare the area as a Red Panda zone and establish a reproduction centre of the animal soon. The National Park and Wildlife Conservation Act has provisioned of five to 15 years’ jail term for those who poached Red Panda.