Big help for the lesser panda (WWF)
As beautiful as the red panda is, also known as the red cat-bear or lesser panda, it is still a species under threat and classified as 'endangered' by the IUCN . Above all, it is the progressive loss of habitat due to the increasing human population that threatens the existence of these striking red-furred animals – not to mention the risk they face from hunters.
The habitat of the red cat-bear is shrinking rapidly
The main threat to the lesser pandas is the deforestation of mountain woods for firewood, agricultural land and building materials. The habitat of the animals is increasingly becoming fragmented due to road construction. This interferes with the genetic exchange between the individual populations, which leads to increased inbreeding, increased risk of disease through reduced genetic variability and lower reproduction rates due to the spatial isolation of these solitary animals.
The WWF conservation project protects the lesser pandas – Zoo Berlin supports the WWF
Even though we don't keep lesser pandas (or red pandas as a matter of fact) at Zoo Berlin, we nevertheless support the WWF assisted Lesser Panda Project in cooperation with the Association of Zoological Gardens (VDZ). The WWF has been trying to safeguard the existence of the red panda in the eastern Himalayan region in Nepal, Bhutan and India since 1999 and was able to extend the project to the Indian region of Sikkim in 2005.
Contact with the local population is an important part of the project work
In order to counteract the decline in numbers due to habitat loss, the WWF project has been trying to develop alternative sources of income for the population and as a result, reduce the pressure on the forest areas that remain. With the aim of reducing the dwindling numbers caused by illegal hunting for the fur of the red cat-bear, the project strives to educate the local population on the need to protect the lesser pandas and to gain their support with the implementation of nature conservation measures.