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Red panda

Ailurus fulgens fulgens

Red panda

Red pandas are also known as ‘lesser’ panda or ‘firefox’. Red panda spend most of their time in trees when they are not searching for food on the ground.

Their sharp claws make them agile climbers and they use their long, striped tails for balance. They look slightly awkward walking on the ground, with their tails held horizontally behind them. It was originally thought that this species was related to the raccoon family or even the giant panda. They have since been classified as a unique species in their own family, called Ailuridae.

Animal class


Diet - Omnivore
Red pandas eat mainly bamboo but will also take berries, blossoms, bird eggs and even small birds.

They can be up to 64 centimetres (cm) long with tails of 50cm. They weigh up to six kilograms.

Red pandas are found in temperate forests throughout the Himalayan Mountains.

Conservation status
The IUCN believes that the red panda faces a very high risk of extinction in the near future. The species is listed under Appendix I of CITES.

The biggest threats facing red panda are the destruction of natural habitat, being hunted as food and for their skin.

Current population
Red pandas have already become extinct in some regions of China. Their total population is believed to be less than 20,000 and it is continuing to decline.

Zoo population
There is an EEP for red pandas. There are currently 750 red pandas living in zoos around the world.

Key to acronyms

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

CITES - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

EEP - European Endangered Species Programme

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