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Red Panda: here’s the scoop

threats

The global red panda population has declined by 50% in 20 years and there may be as few as 2,500 remaining in the wild. Habitat loss and fragmentation is the primary threat and it is compounded by increasing human population, climate change, natural disasters, logging, inadequate enforcement of laws and regulations, poaching and a recent increase in the capture of live animals for the pet trade. While this sounds grim, there is hope for this species thanks to the dedication of AZA accredited facilities and their partner conservation orgranizations. 

Committed to Conservation

The Buttonwood Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Red Pandas. The goal of the SSP is to cooperatively manage animal populations within AZA accredited zoos to ensure the sustainability of a healthy and genetically diverse population while enhancing the conservation of this species in the wild. 

With the grand opening of the Zoo’s very first red panda habitat in 2019, we became a Partner in Conservation with the Red Panda Network by becoming a significant contributor to the Plant a Red Panda Home campaign and subsequently a Reforestation Sponsor in 2022. Red Panda Network is the world leader in red panda conservation. Conservation of wild red pandas and their habitat is done through research and monitoring, policy and advocacy, community-based conservation, education and outreach, and sustainable livelihoods. BPZOO has contributed over $12,000 to Red Panda Network over the past four years. 

Insider Info

The Zoo’s breeding pair of red pandas, Jacob and Marie, celebrated their 7th and 6th birthdays in 2024.  Marie was brought to New Bedford based on a breeding recommendation as part of the AZA’s Species Survival Plan.

On June 4, 2020, for the first time in our 126 year history, a red panda cub was born! Through a fun gender reveal enrichment activity, Jacob announced the cub was a boy. The name “Kodo”, a Nepalese word for grain, was chosen by BPZOO supporters around the country and even into Canada. Additional examinations done by the Zoo’s veternarian after the fact revealed that Kodo was actually a female! Our community enjoyed watching Kodo grow up and in 2022, she moved to another AZA accredited zoo to start a family of her own.

Marie gave birth for a second time in 2023, to female cubs Pip and Sprout. Pip left BPZOO in April of 2024 on a transfer recommendation and Sprout will remain at BPZOO until she also receives a breeding or transfer recommendation. 

Species

Red Panda

Scientific name

Ailurus fulgens fulgens

Habitat

High-altitude temperate forests with thick canopy cover and dense bamboo understories

Diet

Herbivorous. Bamboo constitutes 85% of their diet and they also eat a variety of fruit.

life expectancy

15 – 20 years

Did you know?

Red pandas, like giant pandas, are bamboo eaters native to Asia’s high forests, but despite these similarities and their shared name, the two species are not closely related. Red pandas are much smaller than giant pandas and are the only living member of their taxonomic family.

Range

Nepal, northeastern India, Bhutan and part of China

Conservation status

Endangered

High risk of extinction in the wild