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Trade of Endangered Red Panda in China Study Released

28 May 2018 | TRAFFIC International News Release

Beijing, China – a new TRAFFIC study into Red Panda Ailurus fulgens trade in China has documented persisting low-level demand for Red Pandas as pets, for pelts and for breeding purposes.

The study encourages other range countries to seek evidence of Red Panda smuggling to China and to conduct market surveys to assess the extent of trade on Red Panda populations.

Red Panda market research findings in China (PDF, 1 MB) presents the findings from surveys and interviews conducted in 2017 in physical markets close to Red Panda habitats (in Sichuan and Yunnan province) and an online market survey of Chinese websites.

The Red Panda is a mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It is a national second-class protected species in China and listed in Appendix I of CITES1. The Red Panda was upgraded to Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2015.

The study found very few Red Panda products in either physical or online markets—of 65 shops surveyed, Red Panda products were found in only one—and the international trade of live Red Pandas and parts between 2005 and 2015 was minimal according to CITES trade data. However, seizure data revealed that confiscated Red Pandas had been poached, transported and traded for the purpose of rearing as pets, for captive breeding, pelts for traditional clothing, commercial exhibitions and wild meat. Ten seizure cases between 2005 and 2016 involved 35 live and seven dead Red Pandas.

“China’s strengthened law enforcement has resulted in the low availability of illicit Red Panda products in the market,” said Zhou Fei, Head of TRAFFIC’s China Office, “TRAFFIC will stand ready to support enforcement authorities in China to increase further their efforts in detecting and deterring illegal trade in Red Pandas. The existing demand for Red Pandas should be eliminated by delivering awareness-raising work to potential consumers.”

Funding for the study was kindly provided by WWF Germany from their collaboration with the Association of Zoological Gardens (Verband der Zoologischen Gärten e.V., VdZ) of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

[1] CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. An Appendix I listing means international trade is prohibited.

Red Panda market research findings in China can also be downloaded in Chinese.

For more information, please contact:
Xiaojia Li, Senior Communication Officer,

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