Skip to content

Red panda

Ailurus fulgens


The scientific name of this rare and beautiful species literally means ‘fire-coloured cat’.

Its striking red fur is thought to help it blend in with the reddish-brown moss that grows on the branches of the trees in which it lives. Like the giant panda, despite not being closely related, the red panda has evolved to feed almost exclusively on bamboo. Individuals must spend a great deal of time eating just to maintain their bodyweight – female red pandas have been known to eat up to 200,000 bamboo leaves in a single day! The red panda represents the only extant members of its family. The red panda are part of the group that contains skunks and raccoons, otters, weasels and badgers, with a significant period of independent evolution separating them from giant pandas. Red pandas are declining throughout their range as a result of deforestation, increased agriculture, hunting and pressure from growing human populations. There are less than 10,000 red pandas in the wild today; scattered throughout south-east Asia.

  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Ailuridae
  • Population: <10,000
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 51-63.5cm
  • Weight: 3-6kg

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 11.51 (?)
ED Score: 23.54 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


They are found in disjointed populations through south Asia. They are found in Nepal, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, and China.

Habitat and Ecology

They inhabit montane forests, with dense bamboo-thicket understorey. They feed primarily on young leaves and shoots of bamboo. Though it also eats fruits, roots, succulent grasses, acorns, lichens, birds’ eggs and insects.

Find out more

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Urban development Industrial development Tourism Earthquakes Avalanches Habitat change Crops Wood plantations Livestock Mining Roads/Rail Hunting Gathering Logging Recreation Work Fire Native species

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
Available at:

Download the Survival Blueprint for this species below. Each survival blueprint is compiled by an EDGE Fellow working on the species with input from collaborators and stakeholders. The Survival Blueprint provides a status review (information on the distribution, protection status, habitat & ecology, threat and stakeholder analysis) and more information on the action programme listed here.

Vision (30-50 years)

Long-term conservation of endangered Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) and its habitat in Eastern Himalayan Landscape

Goal (5-10 years)

Augment the protection of the existing Red panda hotspots in Sikkim


Population of Red Panda in existing hotspots (PA’s and Non-PA’s), Sikkim are well managed Critical
Existing habitat management by reducing threats and restoring habitats in respective hotspots Critical
Species-habitat association in respective protected and non-protected sites High
Create partnership with various stakeholders (Govt and non Govt) to protect Red Panda High
Initiate transboundary collaboration with Nepal, Bhutan and India to initiate joint monitoring mechanism and developing transboundary policies High
Raise public awareness and involve the local communities in the conservation of Red Panda High

Moumita Chakraborty

  • Project name: Spatial prioritization for the conservation of endangered Red Panda in Sikkim Himalaya
  • Project site: Sikkim, Eastern Himalayas, India
  • Active: 2019 - 2022
Find out more