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Red Pandas (Ailurus fulgens & A. styani) Fact Sheet: Managed Care

Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens)

History of Managed Care

Important milestones

  • May 1869: First red panda sent to London Zoo from India
  • August 1940: Karl Koch brought 4 animals from Nepal to San Diego
    • Many successful litters produced and animals sent to St. Louis, Brookfield, San Antonio, Lincoln Park, and Bronx Zoos
  • 1950 - 1969: Marvin Jones of San Diego Zoo provides a record of red pandas in managed care
  • International studbook initiated in 1977
  • International breeding program in 30 zoos established in mid-80s
    • Studbook records suggest that only about 30% of Red pandas in managed care are currently reproducing at peak reproductive age
    • Infant mortality higher than expected

Commonly found in Chinese zoos, wildlife parks and rescue centers

  • No accurate pedigree records
  • No genetic management efforts
    • 2 species interbreed


AZA Care Manual

Breeding in Managed Care

  • Ideal social grouping breeding pair kept together year-round
  • Pregnant females and females with cubs should have access to private quarters
  • Nest boxes:
    • 3 temperature-regulated nest boxes of various sizes placed at various elevations for each mother
    • Entrance to nest boxes concealed with vegetation
    • Subterranean nest areas used by Australian zoos have high infant survival rates
    • Minimal disturbance to avoid stressing mother

Exhibit Design

  • Outdoor enclosures or permanent outdoor access important for breeding success
  • Variety of substrates: grasses, wood, rock, mulch, logs, branches, ropes, vines, pools
  • Trees for climbing and perching, plenty of shade
  • Hiding areas, distance and visual barriers from the public
  • Foraging opportunities for natural feeding (a variety of grasses and bamboo)
  • Multiple feeding stations
  • Well-adapted to low temperatures but should not experience temperatures above 80°F
    • Many zoos use misters to lower temperature in enclosures
  • 3 zoos offer exhibit design plans in ZooLex:
    • National Zoo
    • Zoo Zurich
    • Naturschutz-Tierpark Görlitz

Dietary guidelines (Glatson, 1993)

  • Minimally 200-300 g fresh bamboo daily for each panda. Preferred species of bamboo: Pseudosasa and Phyllostachys
  • Alternative fiber source: high fiber biscuits or beet pulp and other edible grasses
  • In addition to foraging opportunities, at least 2 supplemental feedings/day


  • A few animals have been released into Singalila National Park in a pioneering effort by the Darjeeling Zoo (Jha 2011)

Red Panda

Two young Red Pandas at the San Diego Zoo

Red pandas in managed care should be provided trees for climbing, hiding areas, and plenty of shade.

Breeding pairs should be housed together year-round.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

Page Citations

Eriksson (2010)
Glatson (1993)
Glatson (2011)
Jha (2011)
Jones (2011)
Roberts (1981)

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