Illegal Trade of Red Panda | 09 Mar 2020

Why in News

The trade monitoring network TRAFFIC has released a report titled “Assessment of illegal trade-related threats to Red Panda in India and selected neighbouring range countries” recently.

  • The report has analysed poaching and illegal trade of the species for the ten-year period from July 2010 to June 2019.

Key Findings

  • The red panda survival is crucial for the eastern and north-eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests and the eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests.
  • The animal has been hunted for meat and fur, besides illegal capture for the pet trade.
    • An estimated 14,500 animals are left in the wild across Nepal, Bhutan, India, China and Myanmar.
  • The report has indicated that the traditional demand for red panda meat and related products has reduced over time.
  • Also, the reduction in poaching and illegal trade of red panda is indicative of the success of awareness campaigns about the conservation of the species.


  • Community-based conservation and protection for the species as its habitat stretches across remote areas.
  • Trans-boundary law enforcement co-operation through the use of multi-government platforms like SAWEN (South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network).
    • SAWEN was formally established at an inter-governmental meeting hosted in Paro (a town in Bhutan) by the Royal Government of Bhutan, in January 2011.
    • It aims to establish multilateral collaboration to fight wildlife crime in the region.

Red Panda

  • The red panda is a small reddish-brown arboreal mammal.
  • The only living member of the genus Ailurus.
  • It is also the state animal of Sikkim.
  • It is listed as Endangered in the IUCN red list of Threatened Species and under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • It is found in the forests of India, Nepal, Bhutan and the northern mountains of Myanmar and southern China.
  • It thrives best at 2,200-4,800m, in mixed deciduous and conifer forests with dense understories of bamboo.
  • In India, About 5,000-6,000 red pandas are estimated to be present in Sikkim, western Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling district of West Bengal and parts of Meghalaya.
    • This is the second-largest population after China (6,000-7,000).
    • Red pandas have been reported from 11 districts of Arunachal Pradesh, which is presumed to hold the largest red panda population in the country.

TRAFFIC – The Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network

  • TRAFFIC is a leading non-governmental organisation working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
  • It is a joint program of WWF and IUCN – the International Union for Conservation of Nature created in 1976.
  • TRAFFIC focuses on leveraging resources, expertise and awareness of the latest globally urgent species trade issues such as tiger parts, elephant ivory and rhino horn.

Source: TH