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.