Reaching over the gap: A review of trends in and status of Red Panda research over 193 years (1827-2020)

March 25, 2021 / 5 mins read

Karki, S., Marasseni, T., Mackey, B., Bista, D., Lama, S. T., Gautam, A. P., ... & Cadman, T.

Science of the Total Environment, 146659

25 March 2021

The red panda is a unique species taxonomically known for its peculiar biological and ecological characteristics, and extreme attractiveness. Despite being highly significant from conservation, scientific and economic perspectives, this species has experienced a declining population in the wild. Thus, to direct further research priorities and conservation actions and assess gaps in the current research trend of this species, a systematic literature review was conducted covering 175 journal articles published in English over 193 years (1827–2020). This review revealed that (1) the biological aspect was highly studied compared to other thematic areas of red panda (2) captive-based studies are relatively higher than the studies based in wild populations (3) China is leading the red panda studies amongst all red panda range (4) The universities were found contributing more to red panda studies than other institutions. Surprisingly, we found that the researchers from the non-range country were leading red panda study than those from range countries. Our review highlighted the need of prioritising studies in underrepresented locations and understudied thematic areas focusing on the assessment of climate change impact, bamboo distribution status, ecosystem services of red panda habitat, behavior and movement ecology, population estimation, and metapopulation dynamics. We urge landscape-level studies and long-term population monitoring. Besides, we also suggest the documentation and evaluation of the effectiveness of ongoing red panda-focused conservation programs. We also stress the need for strengthening the capacity of institutions and people from range countries.