‘Majestic mammal’ on verge of extinction | Inquirer Opinion

‘Majestic mammal’ on verge of extinction

/ 12:12 AM September 02, 2016

The red panda, an endangered, majestic mammal is found in the Indian Himalayan bamboo forests. It is also found in Nepal, Bhutan, southern China and Burma (Myanmar). Due to illegal encroachments on the bamboo forests, along with organized poaching and capturing, the red panda population has been seriously impacted in all the countries across its range.

According to the latest evaluation, less than 10,000 red pandas exist in their wild habitats across five nations. Only two captive breeding centers for red pandas are currently available: One is the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park in Darjeeling, West Bengal; the other is the Himalayan Zoological Park of Gangtok in Sikkim.


The illegal wildlife trade operating in parts of China and Southeast Asia is negatively impacting wildlife conservation in the south and southeast regions of Asia. Unless such illegal wildlife markets are completely closed, wildlife conservation will remain a serious challenge.

The release of captive red pandas has not been successful  as the freed animals failed to cope with their wild habitats in India. Feral dogs have been found to be one of the unfortunate killers in the red panda habitats. These problems need to be seriously addressed for effective conservation efforts.


Media campaigns to promote awareness of such conservation efforts should be encouraged in all states where red pandas are found, including Arunachal Pradesh. These should also make the target publics aware of their wildlife heritage and resources. Unless the anthropogenic issues are dealt successfully, no conservation efforts could be effective in any region.

Formal arrangement between the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for a comprehensive joint forest management and joint conservation initiative can greatly improve the forest and wildlife conservation practices across the south and southeast regions of Asia.

—SAIKAT KUMAR BASU, Apt 6-409, 43 Street South, Lethbridge AB Canada T1J 4B3

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TAGS: endangered species, red panda, wildlife
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