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 is the #1 Threat

Rapid human population growth in the Eastern Himalayas is causing deforestation and the degradation and fragmentation of red panda habitat. In Nepal, 70 percent of red panda habitat in lies outside of protected areas and is fragmented into 400 small forest patches.

Habitat is being fragmented by development projects including roads, hydro-projects, electric transmission lines, and mining, as well as settlement and agricultural conversions, and anthropogenic forest fires.

Unsustainable harvest_new (1)

Learn how we are protecting forests and restoring habitat.

Data visualization by Becky Scheel.
Data visualization by Becky Scheel.

Livestock Herding

Livestock herding is a major driver of red panda habitat destruction. Herders cut down trees to maintain sheds and collect fuelwood from the forest. Unsustainable herding practices degrade habitat quality as livestock graze in the forest and eat and trample bamboo and other red panda food species. An increasing trend toward dairies in red panda range has fueled the demand for fodder (bamboo) and firewood.

Bamboo_Threats Page
Cow-yak grazing in Eastern Nepal.
Cow-yak grazing in Eastern Nepal.
Free-roaming dog in Nepal.
Free-roaming dog in Nepal.

Free-roaming Dogs and Disease

Free-roaming dogs and disease are major contributors to red panda mortality. Herders in red panda range have dogs that protect their livestock from potential predators. They also kill red pandas.

Dogs can also spread seven species of gastrointestinal parasites to red pandas. The canine distemper virus, which is highly infectious and always fatal to red pandas, is another threat from free-roaming dogs.

Learn how we are protecting red pandas from dogs.


Poaching & the Illegal Trade

Poaching and the illegal trade of red pandas is on the rise and harming already vulnerable populations. Learn more. 



Climate Change

Climate change is causing more frequent droughts, snow falls, and floods, all resulting in shifting vegetation zones in the Himalayas.

Red panda habitat in eastern Nepal.
Red panda habitat in eastern Nepal.

These threats are compounded by:

Weak Law Enforcement, Political Instability, and Low Coordination among Stakeholders.

Inadequate staffing and pay of rangers and enforcement agencies in Protected Areas and Community Forests, combined with difficult terrain and inaccessibility of red panda habitat, ensures minimal protection from poaching and habitat destruction. This is augmented by complicated geopolitics among red panda range countries.

Low Red Panda Awareness

Many people living in red panda habitat are not aware of red pandas or their importance to the Himalayan broadleaf forest ecoregion.

Learn how we are raising red panda awareness in Nepal.

Insufficient Sustainable Livelihood Opportunities

leads to increased dependence on forest exploitation to meet basic needs.

Learn how we are conserving red pandas through livelihood improvement programs.

Fuelwood collected by family in Nepal.
Fuelwood collected by family in Nepal.