Red pandas live in temperate bamboo forests in the foothills of the Himalayas. Although actually a predator, the red panda has long since become adapted to a vegetarian diet and feeds mostly on bamboo. It is totally dependent on the bamboo forests where it lives. Today, large areas of forest are being felled, leading to the species becoming endangered.
Nordens Ark has had red pandas for nearly 25 years and participates in the European Endangered species Programme (EEP) for the species. The EEP co-ordinates the breeding of threatened species with the aim of establishing and maintaining healthy populations in zoos around Europe. To contribute further to the conservation of this species, Nordens Ark will, together with the EEP, help fund practical conservation measures in Nepal.
The Red Panda Network is working to preserve the red panda and the biodiversity of its habitats. To achieve this in the longer term, local people are being involved in various ways. The understanding and engagement of the local populace are a prerequisite for all conservation work. An important link in the Red Panda Network’s efforts is its forest rangers. These are local villagers who guard and protect the red pandas’ habitats, as well as educating the local community on the need to protect wildlife and the environment. Forest rangers are the key to securing a future for the red panda. Training and wages for a ranger cost about €1,000 a year. The aim is that every zoo in Europe that keeps the species should each contribute €250 to the Red Panda Network, which would pay for 20 new forest rangers. Financially supporting conservation efforts in poor countries is one example of what the European zoo organisation EAZA does. Through working together, even relatively small contributions from each park can make a big difference.