WWF-Canada Blog:

Species of the Week: The Red Panda!

The red panda is primarily on a vegetarian diet, eating mostly berries, blossoms, bird eggs, bamboo leaves, and other small plants.  Occasionally, they will supplement their diets with insects.  They do little more than eat and sleep, thanks to their low-calorie diets.

Red panda (Ailurus fulgens) resting on branch in snow © naturepl.com / Juan Carlos Munoz / WWF-Canon

Red panda (Ailurus fulgens) resting on branch in snow © naturepl.com / Juan Carlos Munoz / WWF-Canon

The red panda is native to the Himalayas in Nepal, China, Bhutan, India and Myanmar.  They have been classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature because its population is estimated at fewer than 10,000 mature individuals.

The relative importance of threats to their population varies by region, but red pandas are primarily threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation; hunting and poaching; competition from domestic livestock; reduction of habitat quality by removal of maternal den; genetic inbreeding due to smaller populations and; genetic inbreeding due to smaller populations.

A 40% decrease in red panda populations has been reported in China over the last 50 years, and populations in western Himalayan areas are considered to be even lower.

WWF and WWF-India are protecting the red panda habitat by initiating a project on the red panda in Sikkim (a state in northern India) for developing an in-depth understanding of the species to help develop a long-term conservation plan.

This activity will identify the protected areas and other areas of red panda habitat that need immediate attention in order to better understand the conservation status of the red panda in Sikkim, to strategize for long-term conservation, and to reintroduce the red panda to identified sites.

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By symbolically adopting a red panda or other species, you’re supporting WWF’s conservation efforts.   Each adoption kit includes a wildlife plush animal, personalized adoption certificate, paper gift bag, species poster and information pamphlet, and a charitable tax receipt for a portion of your purchase.  To adopt a species today and give an extraordinary gift, visit our online store.

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