National Wildlife Day was founded in 2005 by Colleen Paige in an effort to bring awareness to endangered species and show appreciation for individuals and sanctuaries that work to educate the public while protecting the species of Earth.

One of these important (and notably adorable) creatures is ailurus fulgens, better known as the Red Panda. This small, bamboo-loving mammal is critically endangered, with anywhere from 2,500 – 10,000 estimated to be remaining today. Inhabitants of temperate forests and known for their brightly colored pelt, red pandas contribute to the health of the ecosystems they live in, and are the last remaining species in their taxonomic family known to man.

close-up photograph of red panda sitting on tree

Fun Facts About the Red Panda

  • They were classified almost 50 years before the Giant Panda
  • They play a very important role in the conservation of the Himalayan broadleaf forest
  • On average they only grow to two feet long
  • While mostly vegetarian, they are classified as carnivores because they eat eggs
  • Their latin name means “fire-colored cat”
green trees on brown soil

Challenges to the Red Panda

  • The biggest threat to the red panda is deforestation. The loss of their nesting areas has greatly reduced their habitat and left them vulnerable to predators
  • Red pandas are often poached for their beautiful pelts
  • Livestock herding leads to the degradation of habitat quality, as well as the spread of disease among the red panda population
  • They are often accidentally killed in traps meant for other wild animals

How You Can Take Action

After National Wildlife Day on September 4th, International Red Panda Day comes on September 18th! Here are some things you can do to help save the red pandas:

  • “Adopt” a Red Panda! Many places offer the chance to symbolically adopt one of these loving animals in order to contribute to their conservation. On the Red Panda Network, adoptions start at $50
  • Start a Facebook fundraiser! You may have seen birthday fundraisers for one charity or another, so why not help dedicate your special day to saving a species?
  • Stream/use social media to raise awareness! This is a good option if you yourself are unable to financially support this mission, as you can get the word out about how important these little guys are!
  • Educate yourself on environmental issues such as deforestation, and see if you can use your voice to advocate for the end of habitat destruction!

Whether you are a long-time red panda fan, or have just found love for these special animals, hopefully this has helped shed light on the issues they face (and brings attention to other struggling species!). Through our efforts, we can resume the growth of the red panda population, and help restore the lands they call home. Together we can help stop the extinction of earth’s beloved mammals!