Q:

Why are red pandas endangered?

A:

Quick Answer

The primary reason that red pandas are endangered is the destruction of their native habitat. Red pandas require bamboo for food and forests for sleeping and hiding places. Unfortunately, many of the forests in the eastern Himalayan Mountains, where the red panda lives, are being cut down and cleared for agriculture and development. Red pandas are also poached by humans, contributing to their decline.

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Full Answer

While hunting red pandas is illegal, they are sometimes captured in traps set for other animals. Often, the trappers choose to kill the trapped animals and sell their hides at local markets. Hats and pelts from red pandas have been found in markets throughout South Asia.

In addition to bamboo, red pandas will eat blossoms, fruit, leaves, eggs and berries. Red pandas reach about 14 pounds in weight and 42 inches in length. These arboreal creatures use their long, bushy tails to help maintain their balance when climbing in trees. Additionally, they use their tails to cover their bodies and keep warm in their chilly habitats.

Not all scientists agree about the red panda’s scientific classification. Some feel that it is closely related to the giant panda, while others think that the physical resemblances are a byproduct of convergent evolution. Both species share a thumb-like growth on their front limbs that helps them to grip bamboo. Red pandas and giant pandas inhabit some of the same habitats in some locations.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How many red pandas are left in the world?

    A:

    According to the World Wildlife Fund, as of 2014, there are fewer than 10,000 red pandas left in the world. Red pandas are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, only one step above an endangered status.

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  • Q:

    What do pandas eat?

    A:

    Based on information from the Smithsonian Institution, pandas eat primarily bamboo. In fact, in the wild, 99 percent of a panda's diet consists of bamboo. Of course, pandas also eat some other foods.

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  • Q:

    Why are pandas important?

    A:

    To save the panda from extinction, the rich biodiversity such as plants, landscapes and other animals that surround the pandas must also be preserved, as it is necessary for their survival. The removal of any species has dramatic consequences for those that remain. Pandas also economically benefit their local communities.

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  • Q:

    What are some facts about red pandas?

    A:

    The red panda has markings reminiscent of the giant panda, but it boasts a red, black and white coat. Despite its markings and name, the red panda is in its own taxonomic genus, although in the past it was thought to be closely related to both giant pandas and raccoons.

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