Red Panda Project

Parco Natura Viva joins the International Red Panda Day, a day dedicated to this animal, proposing activities to raise visitors’ awareness on the protection of this species and its natural habitat. It also carries out an important action of fundraising to support the Red Panda Network, world’s first non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting red pandas and their natural habitat.

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Parco Natura Viva supports the  Red Panda Network - RPN and its in-situ conservation activities for the red panda, a marvellous species and particularly threatened in its environment of origin. RPN protects this species by preserving its natural habitat and involving directly the local communities. This project is carried out through scientific research, raising awareness and education of local population, that is involved in surveys of this species and in the protection of the area where it lives. Furthermore, RPN has built an anti-poaching network that patrols the protected areas to monitor the red panda and inform competent authorities of any poaching activities. Thanks to this network’s hard work, in 2015 it was registered a 60 % decrease in the presence of traps in the Panchthar-Ilam-Taplejung protected forest of eastern Nepal. 
The park participates to activities supporting the rangers, and in 2019 became one of the first Red Panda Challenger, contributing to the reforestation and plantation project in Nepal.

 
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Furthermore, the Educational Department of Parco Natura Viva, in collaboration with ARCA Foundation, has realised and illustrated a book called “A ciascuno la sua coda”.  Thanks to the big illustrations and information boxes on the animals, the book was designed to introduce children to the animal world. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the book is donated to the Red Panda Network.
 
The red panda is a small carnivore from central Asia and has in common with the giant panda an adaptation that allows it to gain energy from bamboo leaves, while physiologically remaining a real carnivore. The red panda is classified as “Endangered” in the IUCN Red List and the wild population has fallen by 50% in the last 20 years. Deforestation, causing forest fragmentation, is the main threat to its survival. In fact, on one side the main food resource of pandas, the bamboo, is lost, and on the other side, by reducing the habitat in many small “islands”, the movements of arboreal animals like red pandas, become difficult if not impossible. This leads also to an increased risk of loss of genetic heritage due to inbreeding.
Furthermore, the growing interest in red pandas as pets, and the hunting for the use of the fur to make hats and clothes and of the tail to make lucky charms, are further causes of reduction in the number of wild individuals.
 
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Thanks to the important support of Thun, Parco Natura Viva was able to destine funds for the renovation of the area dedicated to the red pandas currently hosted, adapting the structure to all animals’ needs and thus increasing their welfare.
The renovation of the exhibit allowed to raise the bridge, facilitating public vision of the animals. The new flower vases on the sides of the path reduced visitors’ impact, allowing animals to hide. Furthermore, a new substrate was built in the exhibit and new trees were planted.
During the renovation, a webcam was installed inside one of the red panda’s nest and connected in real time with a monitor near the exhibit. This webcam allowed the observation of the baby born in spring 2014 while still in the nest, without disturbing either the mom or the baby. These images are very important because they allow the park’s research team to collect important information on the care of this species’ babies.
Parco Natura Viva has been breeding this species since 2003 within the European Endangered Species Programme EEP. The reproductive success that has accompanied the history of the management of this magnificent species has led to the birth of as many as 17 individuals.
 
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Every year, Parco Natura Viva celebrates the International Red Panda Day in September..

2019

Parco Natura Viva supports the Red Panda Network project “Plant a Red Panda Home”, that will restore more than 32 hectares in western and eastern Nepal, planting over 32,000 trees. This project is part of the “First Panda Challenge” programme, which gives the opportunity to RPN partners to bolster their impact to the campaign, allowing to double their contribution.
With its contribution, the park will support the plantation of 1,500 – 2,200 trees.

2018

The contributions collected during 2018 Red Panda Day support Red Panda Network’s great effort to stop the illegal trade of red pandas. Furthermore, it was possible to collect funds for the distance adoption of 6 red pandas for the following 7 years: Niyati, Tenzing, Pinju, Sita, Bhim and Sanju.
 
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If you are interested in this project and you want to help saving the red panda and its habitat, there are different ways in which you can contribute. By participating to the activities organized by Parco Natura Viva, such as guided tours, educational workshops and the Red Panda Day, you can learn more about this species and the threats to its survival, also learning what behaviours to adopt in everyday life to protect their habitat. By adopting the park’s red pandas or purchasing the book “A ciascuno la sua coda” you will directly contribute to help finance this project; but even with your visit to the park you will be able to make a concrete contribution to conservation, since a percentage of the value of the admission ticket is always destined to in situ conservation projects. Finally, by making other people aware of the problems of animals in the wild, you can concretely help spread the knowledge and guarantee a future for the red pandas in their natural environment.
 
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