The red panda is an animal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. While it is a panda in name, it is only distantly related to the Giant Panda. The red panda has previously been classified in the raccoon family or bear family, but is now considered the sole surviving species in the ailuridae family, which is loosely related to raccoons and weasels.
Red pandas have no close living relatives, and their nearest fossil ancestors, Parailurus, lived 3-4 million years ago. The red panda may be the sole surviving species descending from ice age times.