The Disappearance of Red Pandas

By Kirsten Peters

The Red Panda

Red pandas are disappearing from Asia at a startling rate. Over the past 50 years, their population has dropped dramatically and it's still dropping despite our efforts. These animals may be endangered, but we can bring them back.

What is the problem?

Over the past 50 years, the red panda population has dropped 40 percent! In 1990, the species was insufficiently known, then all of a sudden in 1996, they became endangered for the first time.

(Ailurus Fulgens, 2013)

A few statistics

  • There is only 1 panda every 4.4 miles. (Ailurus Fulgens, 2013)
  • They have 142,000 sq. miles of potential habitat, only half of which is being used. (Ailurus Fulgrens, 2013)
  • They have cub mortality rate of 74%. That means 74% of all cubs die! (Ailurus Fulgens, 2013)

What is causing this?

There are multiple causes to the red pandas endangerment, some of which are deforestation, human population, and poaching. (Red Pandas, 2013)

Deforestation

People in China and Myanmar are chopping trees of the high mountain jungles that the red panda lives in for fire wood, houses, and other wood products. This has forced the red panda to endangerment and high into the Himalayan Mountains. The red panda's habitat is disappearing. (Ailurus Fulgens, 2013)

Poaching

Poaching is also a major problem in China and Myanmar. The panda's beautiful red coat has been seen in hats and traditional clothing. The mountain cultures of the Himalayas use the red panda's pelt in their ceremonial outfits. (World Wildlife Fund, 2013)

Human Population

Another cause is the human population. the area that the red panda lives is one of the most heavily populated areas in the world. With more humans comes more roads and houses, which leads to more deforestation. Road construction through the red panda's habitat is causing landslides and cutting back the panda's living space. (World Wildlife Fund, 2013)

Who is involved?

Many people are contributing to the lack of pandas. Poachers hunt them, people buy their furs, construction workers destroy their habitat, and mountain cultures wear them. (Ailurus Fulgens, 2013)

What can the world do about this?

The governmental solution would be to decline budget proposals that cut our endangered species funding. We should also set up more enforcement in and around the red panda's habitat to prevent poaching. (World Wildlife Fund, 2013)

What can I do about this?

A few things that you, as an individual, can do to help are to buy "good wood" and donate to organizations like World Wildlife Fund. Buy wood stamped with the FSC symbol, marking that the wood is from credible, well-managed sources. (World Wildlife Fund, 2013)

World Wildlife Fund

The World Wildlife Fund's, WWF's, goal is by 2020 to preserve 15 of the world's most important natural places. Saving wildlife is at the core of WWF's mission. This organization protects wildlife because animals inspire us. By donating to WWF, you can help save red pandas from extinction.

(World Wildlife Fund, 2013)

Works Cited