The existing status of red pandas, Ailurus fulgens, is not well-known at this time. Studies in the past did not provide essential baseline data on the red pandas’ distribution, the number of red pandas in each area, habitat quality, as well as deforestation and climate change in their region. In addition, previous studies were confined to the district and VDC (Village Development Committees) levels. This study is unique because it will evaluate the status of red pandas throughout their entire range in Nepal.
Our national red panda survey was very extensive with a number of very important goals. The first goal was to identify past trends and the present status and distribution of red pandas in Nepal. In 1997, scientist PB Yonzon estimated the total population of red pandas in Nepal to be around 314 individuals, whereas scientist Sharada Jnawali’s study in 2012 indicated the population to be somewhere between 237 and 1061 individuals. These studies were inconclusive because they were primarily based on habitat suitability analysis. Red Panda Network’s study will provide reliable results through the use of reports, land use maps of the survey areas, as well as detailed information on red pandas using state of the art GPS technology, and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software.
The survey was conducted in June and July, 2016 and many of our findings are in the analysis phase. Forty field biologists participated in this project who traversed along 1,147km of transects, collected 625 red panda fecal samples and identified and catalogued 72 species of bamboo. During the survey we discovered, for the first time, the presence of red pandas in Lamjung, Bhojpur and Dolpa districts!
Go here to learn more about our research and red panda monitoring programs!
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Writing and Communications Volunteer
Red Panda Network