Written By: Damber Bista
Human Dimensions of Wildlife. 17 Feb 2020.
Recent seizures of red panda pelts suggest an increasing illegal trade. Our study documents the socio-cultural perspectives affecting red panda conservation in Nepal in an attempt to determine what might be driving this increased trade. To do this, we interviewed local people; reviewed published and unpublished works, websites, and newspapers; and consulted experts. The majority of people living in red panda habitat seem familiar with this species, but it rarely has any medicinal, cultural, or religious significance. Currently, what is driving the demand for pelts is a mystery and cannot be explained by inherent negative perceptions about the animal’s value to society or positive perceptions about its economic value within Nepal.