Let’s celebrate, educate and advocate on International Red Panda Day 2022 to save the last of the first panda!
Are you ready for the global red panda party?
Ready or not, International Read Panda Day (IRPD) 2022 is quickly approaching — Saturday, September 17th this year (the third Saturday in September every year) — and we're ready to party with you.
"It's an opportunity to celebrate red pandas, raise awareness, and advocate for their conservation." Red Panda Network's (RPN) Executive Director, Ang Phuri Sherpa, shares why he loves IRPD.
Thankfully, there's a lot to celebrate. According to our population data, red panda numbers are improving in our project areas in eastern Nepal!
Design by Laura Finnegan.
We have planted 336,380 trees, reforesting 461 hectares of red panda habitat in Nepal since 2019. We also now have 12 anti-poaching networks in Nepal!
Unfortunately, the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic have aggravated poverty in the area, resulting in an unprecedented rise in red panda poaching in Nepal. In 2021, law enforcement officials confiscated 37 red panda pelts from poachers, the highest number to date.
In 2021, we formed eight anti-poaching networks consisting of Community Forest User Group (CFUG) members, Forest Guardians, and security and forest officials, who patrolled red panda habitat in high-risk areas for poaching. The teams spent 437 hours patrolling around 197 km in 36 Community Forests.
Anti-poaching network patroling red panda habitat in eastern Nepal.
Members of anti-poaching network patrol unit in eastern Nepal.
Thanks to your support, we're on way to achieving our long-term No Panda Poaching campaign goals which include:
- Organizing workshops for at least 1,000 local security personnel.
- Providing logistic and technical support to Division Foreset Offices in Nepal's red panda range and Kathmandu valley, the hub of illegal red panda pelt trade.
- Developing a field guide on identifying red panda hides for Forest Guardians; and forest, security, and customs officials.
- Continuing to patrol red panda habitat with our anti-poaching networks.
Design by Laura Finnegan.
As concerning as wildlife crime is, habitat loss and fragmentation are still the main threat to red pandas. In Nepal, forests have been fragmented by agriculture and settlement conversions and degraded by unsustainable herding and resource harvest. What remains is 400 unprotected and isolated forest patches that create genetic bottleneck and decreased survivability among future red panda generations.
Fortunately, we have a solution working to reverse the effects of deforestation. We call it: Plant A Red Panda Home. It involves working with local communities in Nepal to plant trees and restore and reconnect the red panda habitat. The goal is to establish a community-protected biological corridor where red pandas and other threatened species will thrive.
So far this year, we have planted over 84,000 trees and purchased approximately 10 hectares – and surpassed our goal in Jaubari by planting 54,815 saplings in over 35 hectares! Learn more in Guardians of the Red Panda: Restoring Jaubari.
Local woman planting tree saplings in Jaubari. To support sustainable livelihoods, we hire people from surrounding communities to help with habitat restoration activities.
2022 is also significant because it marks fifteen years since RPN began conserving red pandas in Nepal. Ang Phuri Sherpa continues: "RPN is turning 15 this year, and we're celebrating IRPD 2022 with a pledge to stop red panda poaching and restore their vulnerable habitat."
While protection and restoration are essential to saving red pandas, so is education – both globally and locally! Last year, on IRPD 2021, approximately 1,600 students of 21 local community schools participated in IRPD events, including poetry, essay, debate, and art competitions. Local FM radio stations also broadcasted outstanding poems and essays to bolster awareness. This year, we plan to engage 10,000 students from 46 schools (29 in eastern Nepal and 17 in western Nepal) in celebrating IRPD 2022 through similar activities — and habitat restoration!
Official IRPD 2022 poster! Design by Laura Finnegan.
Durga Prasad Acharya, a teacher at Mayam Secondary School (Taplejung district, eastern Nepal), a location of IRPD 2022 outreach events, expresses his passion for conservation: "It is imperative that we all understand the importance of red pandas. Students are powerful advocates for red panda and biodiversity conservation."
Teacher, Durga Prasad Acharya, with his class during IRPD 2021 event at Mayam Secondary School.
You can advocate for red pandas, too, by participating in IRPD 2022! There are zoos all over the world hosting fun events where you and your family can see red pandas and learn about this unique and important species. You can also make a donation or start an IRPD 2022 campaign. Your donations will be matched x2 – thanks to our conservation partner, Scentbird – to protect red pandas from poachers and restore their vulnerable habitat! You can also educate your friends and family through the Fifteen for the First Panda video challenge.
We can't wait to see you at the panda party on Saturday!