Red Panda - Dublin Zoo is Ireland's most popular visitor attraction, and welcomed almost one million visitors last year.

Red Panda

In 2015, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) increased the threat status of red pandas from Vulnerable to Endangered, because the wild population is believed to have declined by 50% in the past 18 years alone. Dublin Zoo’s Conservation Coordinator Sandra Molloy discusses how Dublin Zoo is helping this endangered species

Red pandas are found in the mountainous areas of Bhutan, China, Myanmar and Nepal. They prefer to live on slopes with a dense understory of bamboo. Bamboo is the red panda’s favourite food, but they will also eat fruits, grasses, birds’ eggs and insects.
THREATS Unfortunately, the red panda faces a myriad of threats. The human population where the red panda lives is growing quickly and more people need more land on which to live and farm. This results in habitat being destroyed or fragmented (broken up). People bring domestic herds and dogs with them into the red panda’s habitat. Herds trample and eat the bamboo while dogs spread canine distemper, a disease which is fatal to red pandas. To add to this, bamboo has a natural cycle in which, across huge areas, flowers at the same time and then dies off. Bamboo then finds it difficult to grow back where the forest has been damaged, and so, red pandas struggle to find new bamboo patches, especially if the forests have been fragmented.
A further difficulty is that red pandas are also caught for meat, skins and traditional medicine and live red pandas are caught for the pet trade.
WHAT IS DUBLIN ZOO DOING? Dublin Zoo, along with other European zoos, is providing funding for red panda conservation in Nepal. Specifically, Dublin Zoo is supporting a project coordinated by the Red Panda Network in the Panchthar-Ilam-Taplejung (PIT) corridor. This corridor links important habitats for red pandas that are home to 25% of the red panda population in Nepal. The project operates in conjunction with local people called forest guardians. Forest guardians monitor red panda populations and their habitat in their local areas and collect information on how people are using the forest. They also raise awareness about red pandas and their threats in their local communities and are involved with anti-poaching activities.

Red pandas are found in the mountainous areas of Bhutan, China, Myanmar and Nepal. They prefer to live on slopes with a dense understory of bamboo. Bamboo is the red panda’s favourite food, but they will also eat fruits, grasses, birds’ eggs and insects.

THREATS

Unfortunately, the red panda faces a myriad of threats. The human population where the red panda lives is growing quickly and more people need more land on which to live and farm. This results in habitat being destroyed or fragmented (broken up). People bring domestic herds and dogs with them into the red panda’s habitat. Herds trample and eat the bamboo while dogs spread canine distemper, a disease which is fatal to red pandas. To add to this, bamboo has a natural cycle in which, across huge areas, flowers at the same time and then dies off. Bamboo then finds it difficult to grow back where the forest has been damaged, and so, red pandas struggle to find new bamboo patches, especially if the forests have been fragmented.A further difficulty is that red pandas are also caught for meat, skins and traditional medicine and live red pandas are caught for the pet trade.

WHAT IS DUBLIN ZOO DOING?

Dublin Zoo, along with other European zoos, is providing funding for red panda conservation in Nepal. Specifically, Dublin Zoo is supporting a project coordinated by the Red Panda Network in the Panchthar-Ilam-Taplejung (PIT) corridor. This corridor links important habitats for red pandas that are home to 25% of the red panda population in Nepal. The project operates in conjunction with local people called forest guardians. Forest guardians monitor red panda populations and their habitat in their local areas and collect information on how people are using the forest. They also raise awareness about red pandas and their threats in their local communities and are involved with anti-poaching activities.

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