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Red Pandas (Ailurus fulgens & A. styani) Fact Sheet: Population & Conservation Status

Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens)

Population Status

Global population estimate

  • Estimates vary, but thought to be less than 10,000 individuals (Glatston et al. 2015; Choudhury and Yonzon, personal communication)
    • Nocturnal habits and shyness make population estimates extremely difficult. Wei et al. (1999) estimated 3,000 - 7,000 total individuals in China, while Choudhury (2001) estimates 5,000 - 6,000 in India

Population structure

  • Very low genetic diversity in Himalayan red panda (Ailurus fulgens) (Hu et al. 2020)
    • Of conservation concern

Conservation Status


  • Endangered (2015 assessment) (Gladston et al. 2015)
    • Populations have "plausibly declined by 50% over the last three generations (estimated at 18 years) and this decline is projected to continue, and probably intensify, in the next three generations" (Glatston et al. 2015).
  • IUCN History
    • 2008 Vulnerable
    • 1996 Endangered
    • 1994 Vulnerable
    • 1990 Insufficiently Known (IUCN 1990)


  • Appendix I (UNEP 2019)
  • China: about 46 reserves within red panda ranges (25,668 sq km)
    • 32 reserves in Sichuan 3,000 - 3,4000 individuals
    • 8 reserves in Yunnan 1,600 - 2,000 individuals
    • 6 reserves in Tibet 1,400 - 1,600 individuals
  • India: 20 reserves 5,000 - 6,000 individuals
  • Bhutan: 5 reserves
  • Nepal: 7 reserves

Endangered Species Act

  • Not listed

EU Wildlife Trade Regulations

  • Annex A (listed 2017)

Threats to Survival

  •  Predators
    • Leopards, dholes, Asian golden cats, Golden Eagles. Yellow-throated marten known to kill newborns.
  • Limited food supply
    • Diet is usually limited to 1 or 2 species of bamboo
      • After flowering (once every 70 - 100 years), bamboo dies and it takes an average of 10 years for new shoots to regenerate
    • Competitors for bamboo: Assamese macaque, Stump-tailed macaque, Capped langur, Golden langur, Hoolock gibbon, Takin, Sambar, Elephant, Wild pig, Porcupine, Bamboo rats; Giant panda in Sichuan eats the same bamboo species but different parts of the bamboo (See Diet & Feeding section)
  • Habitat degradation and fragmentation
    • Logging, firewood, clearing for farming, grazing of domestic stock, road construction
    • Red panda numbers may have decreased by as much as 40% over the last 50 years due to massive habitat loss
  • In China
    • Poaching and hunting
    • Habitat loss and fragmentation
    • Inbreeding depression (Wei et al. 1998)
    • Cub mortality is high in areas surrounding cattle grazing activities, estimated at up to 74% (Yonzon, personal communication)
  • In India
    • Human population explosion with demand for housing, farming, and firewood (Choudhury 2001)
    • Poaching in the Indian portion of its range (Choudhury 2001)
    • Road construction and logging
  • Climate change
    • Global warming, drought and forest fires, unusual weather patterns
  • Lack of enforcement of wildlife laws within reserves
  • Growth of human population within the Red panda's range; human population has almost doubled between 1971 and 1991

Protecting Red Pandas

Red Panda perched in tree

Community-based conservation initiatives are doing a lot to help the endangered red panda.

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

Celebrating "Red Panda Day"

What are zoos doing to protect red pandas in the wild?

Find out as the San Diego Zoo celebrates Red Panda Day.

© San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

Page Citations

Choudhury (2001)
Wang (2008)
Wei et al. (1999)

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