Wellington Zoo is helping to save Red Pandas in the wild by supporting Red Panda Network’s Forest Guardian Programme through the Wellington Zoo Conservation Fund. 

Sundar resize for web storyThe programme focuses on addressing deforestation which is the main threat to the survival of Red Pandas. Local people are employed to organise awareness building workshops within their villages and schools to promote habitat protection. They also undertake Red Panda population and habitat monitoring to support the Red Panda Network’s research.

The conservation classification for Red Pandas has recently been changed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature from vulnerable to endangered – in recognition of their dwindling numbers in the wild. Their habitat is also an important resource for surrounding communities. The Red Panda Network works directly with the Nepalese people to create a new system in which protecting the prime habitat of Red Pandas will actually benefit the people sharing the resource. Red Pandas are a unique species, and with their populations in decline, it is important to act now.

Good zoos around the world work together for the conservation of endangered species like Red Pandas through global and regional conservation breeding programmes. Conservation breeding programmes help to maintain healthy populations, build knowledge of good animal husbandry, and provide care and support for wild conservation projects.

Red Pandas are primarily solitary animals who form pairs during breeding season. This is short-lived as females are only in season for one day a year, making cubs rare and precious. Sundar, one of our male Red Pandas, moved to Wellington Zoo from Auckland Zoo last year to be paired with our female Khusi.

Sundar and Khusi have been getting on well, and our focus has been making sure they’re comfortable in their habitat. The plan from here is to pair them up for the 2017 breeding season.

Did you know you can meet the Zoo’s Red Pandas in a Close Encounter? This is a great way to learn more about how you can help Red Pandas in the wild. 10% from every Red Panda Close Encounter goes directly to the Wellington Zoo Conservation Fund, helping to save animals in the wild.

About Red Pandas

Red Pandas make their homes in the mountains of Nepal, northern Myanmar (Burma) and central China.

The deforestation of these habitats is the biggest threat to their survival, and they are classified as endangered by the IUCN.

People can help protect their native habitats by purchasing sustainable timber and paper products marked with the FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) logo.