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Title: Distribution, Ecology and Conservation of the Red Panda ('Ailurus fulgens') in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan
Contributor(s): Dorji, Sangay (author); Vernes, Karl (supervisor)orcid ; Rajaratnam, Rajanathan (supervisor)orcid 
Conferred Date: 2012
Copyright Date: 2011
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Abstract: The red panda 'Ailurus fulgens' is a vulnerable flagship species in the eastern Himalayas. Pressurized by an expanding human population, it is mainly threatened by habitat destruction with less than 10,000 mature individuals remaining. The red panda has been studied in India, China, Nepal and to a lesser extent, Myanmar, but no research has been published on this species in Bhutan. Here, I report on the current distribution and conservation status of the red panda in Bhutan from information gathered through field surveys, interviews and unpublished reports. Red pandas were most common between 2,400-3,700 m above sea level (asl) in fir 'Abies densa' forests with an undergrowth of bamboo. They occurred in most national parks and associated biological corridors within Bhutan's protected area network, overlapping with a rural human population under increased socio-economic development. Although culturally respected, red pandas face serious threats from road construction, harvesting of timber, bamboo and minor forest products, livestock grazing, inefficiently managed tourism and domestic dogs. The conservation of red pandas in Bhutan requires (1) inclusion of ecologically sound principles into future development, (2) implementation of programs that improve rural socio-economy through ecotourism and cultivation of appropriate cash crops, (3) development of education programmes that raise awareness of red pandas for rural people, (4) a commitment to managing rural dog populations, (5) greater capacity building for wildlife managers, and (6) more ecological research.
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Field of Research Codes: 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
Rights Statement: Copyright 2011 - Sangay Dorji
Open Access Embargo: 2012-09-13
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
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