Ailurus fulgens 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Ailuridae

Scientific Name: Ailurus fulgens
Species Authority: F.G. Cuvier, 1825
Common Name(s):
English Red Panda, Lesser Panda, Red Cat-bear
French Panda éclatant, Panda roux, Petit panda
Spanish Panda Chico, Panda Rojo
Ailurus styani Thomas, 1902
Taxonomic Notes: Groves (2011) considered that the two taxa of Ailuridae, Ailurus fulgens fulgens and A. f. styani, should be treated as two separate species.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2cde+3cde+4cde ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-04-11
Assessor(s): Glatston, A., Wei, F., Than Zaw & Sherpa, A.
Reviewer(s): Leus, K.
Contributor(s): Wang, Y., Choudhury, A., Yonzon, P., Wozencraft, C, Ghose, D. & Dorjii, S.
Red Panda is listed as Endangered because its population has plausibly declined by 50% over the last three generations (estimated at 18 years) and this decline is projected to continue, and probably intensify, in the next three generations. There is no credible quantification of decline rate from anywhere in the species' range. The overall forest loss rate at appropriate altitudes in the species' range is suspected to be sufficient for Near Threatened status (about 25% in the last three generations), but Red Panda populations are suspected to be declining much faster, reflecting a battery of direct threats, this species' fragmented present range, and poor survival in fragmented areas. (1) Red Panda diet is 98% bamboo. These plants show mass flowering followed by die off. Red Pandas will not readily find new feeding grounds in a highly fragmented landscape and are exposed to other threats when crossing unsuitable habitat. These bamboos do not easily re-establish after flowering in areas of environmental degradation and deforestation, which are now widespread across the species's range. (2) Red Pandas are highly susceptible to canine distemper (even developing the disease after vaccination with domestic dog vaccine), which is lethal to them. As more people, particularly herders, encroach Red Panda habitat, contact between domestic dogs (and their excreta) and Red Pandas increases. Unless all dogs (including feral ones) in Red Panda habitat are vaccinated against this disease the chance that it will enter and spread in the wild Red Panda population with catastrophic consequences are high. (3) Red Panda has specific habitat requirements for forest type, altitude, slope gradient and aspect, proximity to water courses, precipitation and presence of tree stumps. The gentle slopes and rich bamboo understorey of Red Panda habitat make it also a prime choice for herders with their dogs. Cattle also prefer these more gentle slopes, so trample bamboo, which is also collected extensively by herdsmen and used for fodder. In addition tree stumps are often collected by local villagers for firewood. (4) Hunting for trade seems to be increasing, Red Pandas are starting to enter the pet trade, perhaps partly in response to the increasing number of ‘cute’ images on social media. Deforestation and road building are easing access to Red Panda habitat. There are reports of poachers capturing Red Pandas in Nepal and Myanmar to satisfy the Chinese demand for the species (as wild meat, for medicine and for skins). The smaller population fragments, such as in Nepal, can support little or no off-take. (5) The human population in the Eastern Himalayas is growing at an average rate of 2.1% (doubling time 33 years). With this growth more people are moving into Red Panda habitat for their livelihoods, thereby exacerbating the above threats. Yonzon and Hunter (1991) showed that Red Panda mortality is high in disturbed areas; in their study area only three of the 12-13 cubs born survived to six months and only five of the nine adults survived the study period. They stated that 57% of these deaths were directly related to human causes. Comparable figures from undisturbed habitat are not available; but annual mortality rates such as these cannot possibly be sustainable.

The Ailuridae comprises a monospecific family. In part for this reason of conservation priority, with the evidence of precise decline rate being inadequate for certain discrimination between Vulnerable and Endangered, the precautionary course is taken of categorisation as Endangered, pending more precise information.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

The current Red Panda distribution is detailed in three Population and Habitat Viability Analyses (PHVAs) since 2010, covering all range states holding the species: Nepal (2010), China and Myanmar (2012), and India and Bhutan (2013). As discussed by Roberts and Gittleman (1984), Red Panda distribution range should be considered disjunct, not continuous. Reports, including a shot animal of undoubted identification and provenance, of a population on the Meghalaya Plateau of northeastern India, in anomalously tropical habitat (Choudhury 2001, Duckworth 2011) warrant investigation as soon as possible. Captive Red Pandas from the main distribution and habitat do not breed well in tropical conditions (Princee and Glatston in prep); the Meghalaya Red Pandas, if native, might be a separate taxon.

In Nepal Red Panda has been reported from 23 districts, but a number lack confirmed specific records. A further district, Darchula, contains suitable habitat but so far lacks any Red Panda reports. The westernmost global reports are from the Api Nampa Conservation Area and Khaptad in far western Nepal (Jnawali et al. 2012), but specific verifiable records there have not been traced since the 2010 PHVA, even though local people had affirmed Red Panda in these areas in the recent past. Two post-PHVA surveys failed to find the species in either area (H.P. Sharma pers. comm. 2011, A. Thapa pers. comm. 2014). The westernmost confirmed records are from Kalikot and Jumla at about 81°E (Dangol 2014); both are west of the formerly accepted range. In Bhutan it is found in 13 districts (Haa, Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Wangdiphodrang, Gasa, Trongsa, Zhemgang, Bumthang, Mongar, Lhuntse, Trashigang and Trashiyangtse); high-elevation areas in other districts (Chukha, Tsirang, Dagana, Samtse and Samdrupjongkhar) require further surveys (Dorjii et al. 2012). In India it is found in only three states: Sikkim, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh. In Myanmar it is known only from the northernmost state, Kachin, and is locally distributed even there (Than Zaw et al. 2008). In China it is found in three provinces, Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet. Sichuan is its main homeland. In this province its range extends through the Minshan and Liangshan to Qionglai and the Lesser and Greater Xiangling mountains (Wei et al.1999, 2011). It is believed to be extinct in the rest of its historical range in China, e.g. Guizhou, Gansu, Shaanxi and Qinghai provinces (Wei et al. 1999). The Xiaoxiangling population appears isolated from the other A. f. styani population(s). It is a small population and represents a different genetic type that should be considered as a separate conservation unit (Hu et al. 2011).

Red Panda was stated to inhabit Lao PDR by Cheminaud (1942) and Deuve (1972). Re-examination of Cheminaud (1942) reveals many significant internal inconsistencies and flaws. Hence, there is no evidence that Red Panda has ever occurred in Lao PDR (Duckworth 2011).

Red Panda occurs in a narrow altitude band. Roberts and Gittleman (1984) gave a range of 2,500–4,000 m asl. Prater (1948) mentioned occurrence down to 1,500 m asl and Choudhury (2001) gave a typical range of 1,500–4,800 m asl, up to nearly 5,000 m asl in the summer. However all recent publications, excepting those discussing animals from Meghalaya, support the Roberts and Gittleman range as that typically occupied, notwithstanding sporadic reports above 4,000 m asl and down to 2,300 m asl. The occupied altitude varies across the range. This might result from any of: disturbance at lower altitudes; time of year of assessment (several authors indicate that Red Pandas migrate seasonally up and down the mountainside; e.g., Yonzon and Hunter 1991); aspect (with animals occurring higher on the warmer south-facing slopes); and potentially other factors.

Countries occurrence:
Bhutan; China; India; Myanmar; Nepal
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower elevation limit (metres):2500
Upper elevation limit (metres):4800
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Red Panda was “estimated to be more common in the eastern part of its range, especially along the Myanmar-Yunnan border, yet it cannot be considered a common species” (Roberts and Gittleman 1984). There have been four undertakings to estimate, per country, the area of occupied habitat and from this the approximate Red Panda population: Choudhury (2001), Mahato (2010), the recent Population and Habitat Viability Analyses (PHVAs; held in Nepal in 2010, China in 2012, and India in 2013) and Kendal et al. (2015). These show very little concordance (see Table 1 in the Supplementary Material) and whilst some differences might reflect real change between earlier and later assessments, most must stem from differing assumptions and techniques. The PHVA figures are taken here as the most realistic guides, although none has been corrected for suitability of gross area of broadly suitable habitat accounting for specific preferences. Yet Red Panda is selective in forest used with regard to level of annual rainfall, percentage canopy cover, and density of bamboo (e.g., Yonzon et al. 1991, Dorji et al. 2012, Zhou et al. 2013). These would ideally all be taken into account when estimating area of potential habitat. In addition, Red Panda is usually found near water-courses and in areas with many tree stumps, and apparently prefers medium-gradient or shallower, north-facing slopes. In combination, these factors will make the area occupied at average to high densities substantially below that of potential habitat. For example, taking into account forest type, altitude, precipitation and slope aspect, Yonzon et al. (1991) estimated only 68 km2 of the 1,719 km2 Langtang National Park to comprise suitable Red Panda habitat.

Regardless of the uncertainty of actual area occupied, increases in human population and the continuing spread of human activity has driven habitat loss and degradation since the assessment of Choudhury (2001).

Nepal. In the most recent Red List for Nepal (Jnawali et al. 2012), Red Panda is considered to be 'Endangered' under C2a(i), with numbers low (317–582 – similar to the prediction by Yonzon et al. 1997) and a declining population fragmented into 11 subpopulations. These data are extracted from the PHVA report. Subsequent surveys of Api Nampa (Arjun Thapa pers. comm. 2014) and Khaptad (Hari P. Sharma pers. comm. 2011) did not confirm the survival of these two subpopulations. The following estimates of density/numbers have been reported: Rara: about one animal per 3 km2, mostly between 3,100 and 3,600 m asl because of fragmentation and disturbance below this, and reduced habitat suitability above; a maximum of 11 Red Pandas in a 35 km2 study area (Sharma 2008, Sharma et al. 2014). Langtang: one per 2.09 km2 giving a total of 68 Red Pandas in the park (Yonzon 1989), but Yonzon et al. (1991) reassessed the Langtang population at 24. This apparent decline, of 65% in less than two to three years, was probably real, reflecting high mortality resulting from anthropogenic disturbance in the park. Panchthar – Ilam – Tapeljung: one per 5.5 km2 – 100 animals in 178 km2 (Williams 2003, 2004). Dhorpatan: animals present but no density or population estimates available. Most Red Pandas occur over 3,200–3,400 m asl (Subedi and Thapa 2011) or 3,000–3,800 m asl (Panthi et al. 2012), and suffer disturbance from local people for livestock and collection of forest products. Bhotkola: 135 km2 good Red Panda habitat holds about 30–46 Red Pandas (Joshi and Sangam 2011).

India: the states of Sikkim, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh. Participants in the 2013 PHVA calculated that the amount of habitat available for Red Panda in Sikkim and Arunachal was 6,400 km2. More rigid constraints on assessing habitat as 'suitable' gave merely 2,600 km2. Even with the more relaxed habitat conditions, this area is only half that proposed for India by Choudhury (2001), although the comparison is complicated by the non-availability of 2013 figures for West Bengal. Given the changes in land use in the last 20 year, the area of potential Red Panda habitat has undoubtedly declined, although direct comparison between PHVA data and those published by Choudhury is unwise: Choudhury estimated Red Panda habitat from forest service maps and national park maps, whereas the PHVA evaluation used current satellite imagery. In Sikkim, 225–370 Red Pandas in 650 km2 of suitable forest were calculated by Ziegler et al. (2010); the PHVA estimate was of 44–415. In West Bengal (not included in Table 1 in the Supplementary Material), a statement of 78 Red Pandas in Singalila (Pradhan et al. 2001) contrasts with a more recent one of 27 animals (Roka and Jha 2014) and a similar number stated by Bahaguna et al. (1998). This figure plus the 28–32 animals stated to live in the Neora Valley by Mallick (2010) gives a total of 55–60 Red Pandas in West Bengal. In Arunachal Pradesh there have been fewer site-specific studies. This state is presumed to hold the largest Red Panda population in India. According to Choudhury (2001) it was relatively common in Tawang and northern West Kameng districts and in the Mishmi Hills, especially Dibang Valley and Lohit districts. Ghose and Dutta (2011) reported sightings of Red Pandas from several districts, all from before 2000. Habitat maps suggest that most Red Panda habitat is in the east of the state, with a second concentration in the west, around Tawang and Eaglesnest. The habitat between these two regions looks more sparse and fragmented.

Bhutan. Red Panda seems to be widely distributed, mostly at 2,400–3,700 m asl. Bhutan is a very small country with a fast developing economy. The road system is expanding fast and the growing rural population depends on forest and forest products. Even in this country, the pressure on Red Panda habitat is marked.

Myanmar. The area where Red Panda is found (northern Kachin province) is remote, with recent locality records from Hkakaborazi National Park, Hponkanrazi Wildlife Sanctuary, Mount Majed and Emaw Bum, mostly above 3,000 m asl. The number of villager captures suggests the species may be common in Hkakaborazi National Park, but none was camera-trapped there despite substantial effort at suitable altitude (Than Zaw et al. 2008). Ngwe Lwin (pers. comm. 2014) believes Red Panda is still fairly common in the Emaw Bum region, albeit much disturbed by logging and hunting. Red Panda is presumably less common than formerly in Myanmar and, although apparently not specifically targeted by hunters, it is still caught and killed.

China. China is the only country for which the PHVA estimated much higher forest cover than did Choudhury (2001). Choudhury’s (2001) estimates were supported by Wei et al. (1999, 2011). As Wei et al. (2011) reported, reforested lands (which are increasing, reflecting government policy) do not provide suitable Red Panda habitat. Red Panda perhaps decreased in China by as much as 40% in the second half of the twentieth century, through massive habitat loss, increased human activity and poaching (Wei et al. 1999). Wei et al. (1999) estimated 3,000–7,000 Red Pandas in China.

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:Unknown
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Red Panda is closely associated with montane forests (oak mixed; mixed broad-leaf conifer; and conifer) with dense bamboo-thicket understorey (Roberts and Gittleman 1984). Conifer/fir forests seem to be preferred (Yonzon and Hunter 1991). Habitats above the tree-line are probably not consistently occupied given that Red Panda is essentially arboreal (Choudhury 2001). A dead Red Panda at 4,325 m asl in Arunachal Pradesh, in an area where the species is not generally known and far from any typical Red Panda habitat, was presumably a dispersant (Dorjee et al. 2014).

Six studies reported that Red Panda prefers to live near (typically within 100–200 m of) water (e.g., Pradhan et al. 2001). Five indicated a preference for canopy cover above 30%, with some suggesting cover as high as 70–80% may be preferred. Three suggested a preference for slopes of below 45%. Several indicated a preference for slope aspect: most suggest avoidance of south-facing slopes in favour of the cooler climate of the north, northwest and northeast aspects (Yonzon and Hunter 1991, Pradhan et al. 2001, Mahato 2004, Mallick 2010, Jhoshi and Sangam 2011, Subedi and Thapa 2011, Dorji et al. 2012, Panthi et al. 2012, Zhou et al. 2013, Sharma et al. 2014). In the Sagamartha National Park, Red Panda was found on south-facing slopes in only one of six study areas, at lower density than at similar altitudes on north-facing slopes. In another area where both north- and south-facing slopes had otherwise similar habitat, Red Panda was found only on the north-facing slopes (Mahato 2004). Only in China have there been reports that Red Panda prefers south-facing slopes (e.g., Zhou et al. 2013). All studies investigating aspect took place in a similar altitude range. Also in China, in contrast to the rest of the range, steep slopes of more than 45% seemed preferred. Perhaps this relates to sympatry with Giant Panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca (in the Minshan, Qionglai, Liangshan, Daxiangling and Xiaoxiangling ranges in western Sichuan; Wei et al. 1999a, 2000), which uses the more gentle slopes. Zhang et al. (2008) found that Red Panda prefers microhabitats with higher densities of fallen logs and tree stumps.

Red Panda is largely vegetarian, eating chiefly young leaves and shoots of bamboo. It also takes fruit, roots, succulent grasses, acorns, lichens, birds' eggs and insects (Hodgson 1847, Sowerby 1932). It is largely arboreal (Hodgson 1847).

Gestation in captivity lasts 114–145 days (Northrop and Czekala 2011), suggesting a variable delay in embryo implantation. The animals breed once per year giving birth in the summer (late May to early August in northern hemisphere zoos). In captivity, litter sizes range from one to four, most commonly one to two; quadruplets are exceedingly rare. In the field, Yonzon and Hunter (1991) reported litters usually of singletons or twins. The young are sexually mature at 18 months and females can give birth for the first time around their second birthday. In captivity the generation length is around five to six years and its average longevity around 12–14 years. This slow reproductive rate and relatively long generation time are typical of a k-selected species, adapted to a stable environment and less capable of survival when that environment starts changing rapidly.

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):6
Movement patterns:Altitudinal Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Red Panda is taken for various purposes including wild meat, medicine, pelts and pets. Levels of offtake are not well documented; nor are trends in offtake or geographical patterns of harvest and use. It has been suggested that the rising numbers in the internet pet trade in China are captive-bred, but this remains to be confirmed.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Each of the three recent Population and Habitat Viability Analyses (PHVAs) listed the threats to Red Panda assessed to be most prevalent in their country/countries. Several problems occur throughout the species's range, albeit with some variation in assessed impact. The major threats are habitat loss and fragmentation; habitat degradation; and physical threats. These are all compounded by the region's increasing human population; climate change; natural disasters; inadequate enforcement of laws and regulations; mostly low political will and interest; political instability (in some regions); low coordination of stakeholders, funding and human resources; trans-boundary issues facilitating poaching, illegal collection of non-timber forest products, and Red Panda trade (skins and other body parts); and the movement of cattle herders/grazers during the breeding season.

Natural disasters include cyclones; landslides; floods; heavy snowfall and rainfall; bamboo flowering (which results in death of the plant and typically occurs synchronously across large areas); forest fires; poor regeneration of shelter trees; weed infestation and invasive alien species; and disease outbreaks. Although most of these have been in operation throughout Red Panda existence, their effects are increasingly severe as an ever-larger proportion of the distribution is outside contiguous habitat blocks large enough for recolonisation to occur post-disaster.

In some areas, habitat is lost and degraded by commercial logging. In the Emaw Bum region of Myanmar more than 5,000 km2 have been logged since 1999–2000, resulting in many new roads into mountain areas, e.g. between the May Hka river and the China border. These logging roads not only destroy habitat directly, they also facilitate access for hunters and can destabilise the substrate. A recent video report from FFI shows two young Red Pandas crossing a landslide, the result of foreign road-building in the area.

As human populations grow, more people move into mountain regions to live. They clear land for habitation, bring domestic herds to roam in the forests where they trample and eat bamboo. Herders collect bamboo for fodder and other necessities. The herds are protected by dogs that attack pandas and, if not vaccinated, potentially carry canine distemper, fatal to Red Panda. The lack of annual vaccination in India, at least, leads to a high incidence of canine distemper in dogs of one to five years of age (Latha et al. 2007). Spillover of canine distemper into wild species is already well documented, such as to Indian Fox Vulpes bengalensis (Vanak et al. 2007) and Tiger Panthera tigris (e.g. Goodrich et al. 2012).

Himalayan bamboos, the Red Panda’s dietary staple, are sensitive to environmental degradation, deforestation, fire and overgrazing (Stapleton 1996). Reduced canopy cover increases wind and water stress for the bamboo. In these situations, seedlings are destroyed by the harsh conditions coupled with grazing pressure.

Reports of Red Panda poaching and smuggling seem to be increasing, perhaps through demand in China. F. Momberg (pers. comm. 2010) saw Red Panda carcases and skins in villagers' homes in eastern Myanmar. One hunter allowed him to accompany him while he caught a Red Panda with his hands; apparently these villagers regularly take Red Pandas. Wildlife trade is rampant in Myanmar (about 30 tons of wildlife products per month), facilitated by wildlife habitat proximity to the Chinese border. Before Red Panda was upgraded to Appendix I of CITES in the early 1990s, individuals captured in Myanmar were traded by China to zoos around the world. 

Ang Phuri Sherpa (pers. comm. 2015)  reported an increase in illegal trade over the preceding three years, based on the number of poachers and traders caught in Nepal. These incidents mostly involved skins and the items were headed for China. One incident involved a live Red Panda. A general increase in interest in Red Panda skins and meat in China could fuel more trade. A US businessman reported Red Pandas on offer in a restaurant. In the 'Threats' discussions during the 2012 Red Panda PHVA in China, many Chinese participants indicated that Red Panda meat was fairly widely available in restaurants, although no details are available.  

The live Red Panda trade, for pets, also seems to be increasing. Ian Lee (Chinese representative for Red Panda Network, pers. comm. 2015) found several reports in Chinese newspapers and social media of Red Pandas for sale as pets. This corroborates indications that Red Panda is increasing in popularity as a pet in China and other Asian countries, notably Thailand (YouTube videos and Instagram photos).

Ngwe Lwin (pers. comm. 2014) considers hunting and poaching the major threat to the Red Panda in Myanmar, in two ways: in one area, Red Panda is not a target species but is caught in iron traps, and some of skins are traded; in another, live Red Pandas are traded to China, motivating local people to go to catch them whenever they have time.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

The Red Panda is included in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix I ( It is listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972, the highest protection possible for a species in India (Choudhury 2001). It is also legally protected in Bhutan, China (where it is classed as a Category II species under the Wild Animal Protection Law; Wei et al. 1999a), Nepal (Glatston 1994) and Myanmar (by the Wildlife Act of 1994). In China, the species is Red Listed nationally as 'Vulnerable' under A2ace. In the most recent Red List for Nepal (Jnawali et al. 2012), Red Panda is considered to be 'Endangered' under C2a(i), 

In Myanmar it is found in at least three protected areas: Hkakaborazi National Park, Hponkanrazi Wildlife Sanctuary and Emaw Bum proposed National Park. It is difficult to determine how much of the Red Panda’s range in the country these protected areas cover. Hunting and, in Emaw Bum, logging are widespread within their confines.

In Bhutan it is found in the following protected areas: Jigme Dorji, Thrumshingla and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Parks, Bumdeling and Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuaries, Toorsa Strict Nature Reserve, biological corridors connecting these reserves, and the biological corridor connecting Thrumshingla and Royal Manas National Parks. It has also been recorded in the Royal Botanical Park, Khaling Wildlife Sanctuary and Wangchuck Centennial Park (Dorji et al. 2012). Potential Red Panda habitat in the country modelled using MAXENT and ArcGIS 9.3 revealed 46% of predicted Red Panda habitat is under protected areas (PAs), 16% is in biological corridors and 38% lies outside the PA system. However, even protected areas are subject to activities such as road construction, livestock grazing, subsistence agriculture (slash-and-burn in some areas), collection of forest resources such as timber and NTFPs, and domestic dog presence.

In India it is found in 19 protected or otherwise managed areas: Lachung Reserve Forest, Kanchendzonga National Park (NP), Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, the buffer and transition area of the latter two, Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS), Pangolakha WLS, Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary, Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, Singalila NP, Neora Valley NP, Kamlang WLS, Eaglesnest WLS, Zemithang Valley Community Forest, Nuranang Valley Community Forest, Mehao WLS, Mandla-Phudung CF, Anjaw Reserve forest, Mechuka-West Siang CF, Mouling NP and Dibang WLS. It might also inhabit Taley Valley WLS, Pakhui WLS and Sessa Orchid Sanctuary. These protected areas cover about one-third of the species’s total potential habitat in India (Choudhury 2001). In the 2013 Population and Habitat Viability Analysis (PHVA) workshop, 22 protected areas (outside Meghalaya) were identified as having potential habitat for Red Panda, some with only very small areas. Furthermore, the workshop participants identified medium to high levels of threat in these areas from two or more of development activities; fire; herders; firewood and non-timber forest product collection; illegal trade/'accidental' hunting; dogs (very prevalent); refuse; and habitat reduction. In Arunachal Pradesh (the state believed to have the largest Red Panda population in India) around 60% of the forest is under community ownership rather than having PA status. Also in Sikkim, 60% of potential Red Panda habitat falls outside the PA system. Enforcement of protective legislation, especially outside protected areas, is almost non-existent (Choudhury 2001).

China has 46 protected areas containing Red Panda (Wei et al. 2011), covering about 65% of the species’s habitat in China. Poor law enforcement in PAs was listed as a problem during the 2012 PHVA workshop (Wei et al. 2014). Livestock grazing and collection of non-timber forest products occur widely in these areas.

Red Panda has been confirmed in nine of Nepal’s PAs: Sagarmatha NP; Makalu Barun NP; Langtang NP; Rara NP; Kangchenjunga Conservation Area (CA); Annapurna CA; Gaurishankar CA; Manaslu Conservation Area; and Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve. In all these PAs, habitat loss and degradation, poaching and dog problems and developmental activities have been rated as moderate to severe by participants in the Red Panda PHVA workshop (Jnawali et al. 2012).

Currently there is a Global Species Management Plan (GSMP) for Red Pandas held in zoos around the world. This plan is closely allied to current field conservation efforts. The three PHVAs were largely the initiative of, and funded by, the zoo community. The aims of the GSMP are to contribute both directly and indirectly to Red Panda conservation by: providing a genetically and demographically sustainable and behaviourally competent back-up population for the wild population; holding the potential to supply individuals for genetic or demographic supplementation or reintroduction programmes; educating and the raising of public awareness of Red Panda, its uniqueness and conservation needs; and providing financial, technical, scientific and other support and expertise to the planning and implementation of in situ conservation and research  

Priority conservation actions fall into four main categories:

1. To protect against habitat loss: improve and manage Red Panda habitats (including within corridors); improve connectivity, including across international borders; balance developmental activities by promoting eco-friendly and sustainable development with minimal impact on Red Panda habitat; increase areas under protection; implement better Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) for all development programmes; engage political willingness and win support; 
develop and implement landscape-level conservation policy, identifying unprotected Red Panda habitat and
 making legal provision for the declaration of Red Panda Community Conservation Areas.

2. To reduce habitat degradation: restore degraded habitats, plant bamboo; regulate tourism by the use of entry permits; zone PAs to define restricted-access zones in core areas for Red Pandas, facility 
zones, and resource use zones, with restricted visitor access during the breeding season (set quotas for non-timber forest products); educate, sensitise, and promote community participation to reduce and mitigate threats to Red Panda and its habitat; promote the use of alternative energy and building materials; provide sustainable livelihoods; enhance range-land management, using native species; reduce livestock numbers, especially of 
unproductive breeds; develop an integrated agriculture, pasture and 
agroforestry system; develop proper rubbish disposal systems; improve community stewardship in natural 
resources management; improve fire-fighting, in part by training communities, developing a national fire fighting strategy, ensuring PA management plans include comprehensive coverage of forest fire (the implementation of a fire strategy including forest fire alert and monitoring system, forest fire mapping and zoning, provision of fire fighting equipment, and controlled burning to prevent fires).

3. To reduce deaths of Red Pandas: strengthen law enforcement and improve physical protection; enhance transboundary cooperation on both of the former; strengthen coordination/collaboration between 
line agencies and other stakeholders; implement a reward and punishment system both for 
communities and forest department; establish anti-poaching units (in community forests and PAs) with capacity building for front-line, anti-poaching staff; train customs officials; reintroduce captive-bred individuals to reinforce local populations; formulate a dog management plan to control, sterilise and vaccinate dogs; engage army personnel in border bases to keep their dogs in check and not let them roam free in Red Panda areas.

4. To improve awareness: design and implement a dedicated awareness programme using radio, pamphlets, posters, and documentary film; secure adequate funding; improve conservation education (with a focus on Red Pandas) in schools; establish/strengthen Green Force Clubs; implement a Red Panda research programme, identifying priority research topics, and including regular monitoring of its habitat; develop a trans-national ‘Project Red Panda’.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: Corrected the spelling of an authors name used as a reference from Kendal, K., to Kandel, K., in the reference "Kendal, K., Huettmann, F., Krishna Suwal, M., Regmi, G.R., Nijman, V., Nekaris, K.A.I., Sonam Tashi Lama, Thapa, A., Sharma, H.P. and Subedi, T.R. 2015. Rapid multi-nation distribution assessment of a charismatic conservation species using open access ensemble model GIS predictions: Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) in the Hindu-Kush Himalaya region. Biological Conservation 181: 150–161".

Citation: Glatston, A., Wei, F., Than Zaw & Sherpa, A. 2015. Ailurus fulgens. (errata version published in 2017) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T714A110023718. . Downloaded on 25 May 2017.
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