Red pandas are found in the temperate forests of the Himalayas ranging from Nepal through to Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan. They build habitats in the bamboo forests. They are highly territorial species. Red pandas are not completely endangered. They are vulnerable meaning they are at risk for becoming endangered.
Why are Red Pandas Endangered
Red pandas are currently endangered due to deforestation, illegal trade of live animals, predation by domestic dogs, and killing for its pelt. They have gone extinct in two of the Chinese provinces which were deemed to be the hub of red pandas.
Worldwide, red pandas numbers may be as low as 16,000. IUCN Red list has classified red pandas as Vulnerable in 2008 and the worst part of it is that the population trend is continually decreasing. The total area of red panda’s habitat is 142,000 km2 (55,000 sq mi) out of which only half of it is under the use of these species. It is hard to observe these animals primarily because they are naturally solitary by nature as well as they are shy and secretive.
Prominent among the threats to red pandas is habitat loss and degradation. However, in India the biggest threat is poaching whereas in China they are rather more vulnerable to hunting and poaching.
During the last 50 years there has been a decrease of 40% in red panda’s population.
In south-west China people prefer hunting red pandas because of pandas’ reddish fur and more importantly for their bushy tails. These tails are in turn used for making hats. Besides, they also use it in some cultural programs.
Red pandas are also reported to have suffered at the hands of those who capture and sell them to zookeepers. In this way they had become the attraction of visitors rather than living in the wild.
Red pandas also have a fairly low birth rate and due to the fact that they seem to be more vulnerable in the wild, there are only a few species left in the wild.