Keeping red pandas in captivity :
Abstract: The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is an endangered species that is held in zoos worldwide. The aim of this thesis was to examine how red pandas are kept and managed in captivity. A survey with 37 questions was sent to all red panda keepers within the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme and to some zoos part of the breeding programmes in North America and Australia. Results from the survey were compared with the wild biology of the red panda and the husbandry and management guidelines for the red panda in captivity. Red pandas have large territories in the wild, which range between 980.000-3.300.000 m2. The result shows a mean enclosure size of 290 m2 in the zoos. Eleven enclosures were smaller then the minimum of 80 m2 recommended in the guidelines. Almost half the zoos had visitors around more than half of the enclosure. The red panda is found in dense forests were fallen logs, scrubs, water and bamboo are common. They live almost exclusively on bamboo leaves and are good climbers, spending most of their time up in the trees. The results show that the most common feature in the enclosures was shrubs, followed by logs and rocks. Half the zoos had water in the enclosure. Parts of the enclosures were dedicated to climbing and many of the zoos had higher climbing structures than 4 m. Bamboo was fed once every day in over half the zoos, however, some zoos only fed bamboo every other day, once a week or sporadically. The results show that the recommendations given in the management guidelines are not followed by all zoos and that the keeping and management of red pandas can be improved.
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