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The red panda is largely found in mountainous, temperate forest regions in Asia. Although the full extent of its range is not well understood, this is known to include Nepal, India, Bhutan, southern China and northern Myanmar.
Red pandas feed mainly on bamboo leaves and shoots, but also forage for other foodstuffs such as fruits, roots and grasses, bird eggs, insects and grubs.
In October 2009 Fauna & Flora International (FFI) launched an ambitious programme to protect red pandas in the Himalayan borderlands between Myanmar and China, where they are facing serious threats.
Large sections of habitat are being lost to logging and other development, while new roads are opening the area up to hunters and the wildlife trade.
Hydro-power development in the region is also bringing a large number of workers to the area, increasing the demand for firewood and wildlife products.
FFI is working with local partner, the Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association, to survey red panda populations, identify the main threats and develop plans for protected areas.
We are also working with authorities in Myanmar and the neighbouring Chinese province of Yunnan to tackle illegal wildlife trade and facilitate trans-border collaboration for biodiversity conservation.
Meanwhile, our community-based programme aims to reduce the threat of local hunting by raising awareness of red panda conservation, and by supporting community patrols and alternative livelihood schemes.
Main photo credit: Wendy Salisbury