International Red Panda Day Date in the current year: September 21, 2024

International Red Panda Day International Red Panda Day is observed annually on the third Saturday of September. It celebrates one of the cutest animals on the planet that desperately needs our protection; red pandas are endangered in all countries where they occur.

The red panda, also known as the lesser panda, is the sole living species of the family Ailuridae. Originally classified in the raccoon family and then in the bear family, the red panda was eventually placed into its own independent family based on the results of DNA research. The same research showed that red pandas are close relatives to raccoons, skunks and weasels, but they are not related to giant pandas, which belong to the bear family.

The red panda is native to the eastern Himalayas (the Himalayan subspecies) and southwestern China (the Chinese subspecies). According to genetic evidence, the red panda populations in China and the Himalayas were separated about a quarter of a million years ago. In the Himalayan region, red pandas can be found in Bhutan, India (the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and West Bengal), northern Myanmar, Nepal, and southern Tibet. In China, they inhabit Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.

Red pandas are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The global population of the red panda has declined by half over the past two decades. The main threat faced by red pandas is habitat degradation and fragmentation caused by human activity (expansion of agricultural lands and settlements, development projects, forest fires, livestock herding). Other threats include disease, free roaming dogs, illegal trade and poaching, and global climate change.

In all red panda range countries, there are conservation programs launched to protect red pandas and their habitat. In addition, zoos around the world have established captive breeding programs for the red panda. However, many red panda conservation programs are community-based, and there is a lack of government support and coordination between stakeholders. Due to this, it is important to raise red panda awareness among the general public and bring stakeholders together to boost conservation efforts. International Red Panda Day was created for this very purpose.

International Red Panda Day is endorsed by Red Panda Network, the world’s leading organization for the protection of wild red pandas and their habitat through an integrated approach that includes anti-poaching measures, education and outreach, habitat protection, habitat restoration, policy and advocacy, research and monitoring, and sustainable livelihood.

There are many ways to observe International Red Panda Day. You can read a book or watch a documentary about these amazing animals, attend an International Red Panda Day event near you or organize an event of your own check out red pandas at your local zoo, encourage your child to participate in Red Panda Network’s Red Panda Ranger program, donate to Red Panda Network or any other organization that focuses on red panda conservation, symbolically adopt a red panda, and spread the word on social media with the hashtag #InternationalRedPandaDay.

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International Red Panda Day, international observances, environmental observances, Red Panda Network, red pandas