Red pandas are classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 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.
The Zoo supports the efforts of the Red Panda Network (RPN) to protect red pandas and their bamboo forests in the wild through the education and empowerment of local communities. RPN’s immediate goal is the creation of Panchthar-Ilam-Taplejung Red Panda Protected Forest, located in Eastern Nepal, which will be the world’s first protected area dedicated to red panda. RPN recently completed a two-day training for local teachers on biodiversity and red panda conservation.
Since 2007, RPN has worked to involve the local community in conservation efforts by training residents as professional forest stewards, or forest guardians. As of May 2016, RPN is pleased to be employing 54 forest guardians from 27 Village District Committees in Eastern Nepal.
In July 2016, RPN announced the creation of an anti-poaching alliance among their forest guardians. They’re hoping to have at least 100 members in the alliance to cover the entire Panchthar-Ilan-Tablejung area. Forest guardians help to mobilize the community into action to collectively preserve local biodiversity.
We breed our pandas in accordance with the Red Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP) managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The SSP keeps a studbook of all the red pandas in North American zoos, determines which animals should be mated, and develops long-term research and management strategies for the species. Our Zoo Registrar is the North American Regional Studbook Keeper.
Sign up for an Endangered Excursion. Go behind-the-scenes of Wildlife Canyon for this thrilling opportunity to come face-to-face with some of the rarest animals in the world including the Bactrian camel, red panda, and capybara. Head over to the gift shop afterwards and purchase animal art from resident red panda artist LiWu (while supplies last). Proceeds support the Red Panda Network.