Q:

Why are red pandas endangered?

A:

Quick Answer

The primary reason that red pandas are endangered is the destruction of their native habitat. Red pandas require bamboo for food and forests for sleeping and hiding places. Unfortunately, many of the forests in the eastern Himalayan Mountains, where the red panda lives, are being cut down and cleared for agriculture and development. Red pandas are also poached by humans, contributing to their decline.

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Full Answer

While hunting red pandas is illegal, they are sometimes captured in traps set for other animals. Often, the trappers choose to kill the trapped animals and sell their hides at local markets. Hats and pelts from red pandas have been found in markets throughout South Asia.

In addition to bamboo, red pandas will eat blossoms, fruit, leaves, eggs and berries. Red pandas reach about 14 pounds in weight and 42 inches in length. These arboreal creatures use their long, bushy tails to help maintain their balance when climbing in trees. Additionally, they use their tails to cover their bodies and keep warm in their chilly habitats.

Not all scientists agree about the red panda’s scientific classification. Some feel that it is closely related to the giant panda, while others think that the physical resemblances are a byproduct of convergent evolution. Both species share a thumb-like growth on their front limbs that helps them to grip bamboo. Red pandas and giant pandas inhabit some of the same habitats in some locations.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why have giant pandas become endangered?

    A:

    Giant pandas are endangered due to hunting and habitat loss. While it is illegal to hunt giant pandas and poaching has declined, hunters still sometimes accidentally kill them while seeking other animals. The panda's primary habitat is the Yangtze Basin region. Fragmentation of the area caused by roads and railroads has isolated panda populations, which not only prevents them from meeting and mating, but also reduces their access to bamboo.

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  • Q:

    Why are giant pandas endangered?

    A:

    Habitat loss is one of the main reasons why the population of giant pandas in the wild remains low and the species remains on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. Due to the destruction of the giant panda's natural habitat, they also lose access to their supply of bamboo, which makes up a huge portion of its diet. Other factors include the low reproductive rates of the species and accidental hunting.

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  • Q:

    What are some facts about red pandas?

    A:

    The red panda has markings reminiscent of the giant panda, but it boasts a red, black and white coat. Despite its markings and name, the red panda is in its own taxonomic genus, although in the past it was thought to be closely related to both giant pandas and raccoons.

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  • Q:

    How many red pandas are left?

    A:

    There are fewer than 10,000 red pandas left in the wild as of 2014. They are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List, which catalogs the populations of animals and classifies each species' susceptibility to extinction.

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