The first thoroughgoing conservation study of the charismatic red panda in Bhutan indicates that the conservation of this threatened mammal and the well-being of the Himalayan Kingdom’s human population are inter-dependent.
“Careful, sustainable management of Bhutan’s temperate forests is necessary if a balance is to be met between the socioeconomic needs of people and the conservation goals for red pandas,” say the authors of the paper.
Red pandas are confined to the eastern Himalayas. The paper points out that Bhutan’s temperate forests are in the middle of the red panda distribution range and are therefore crucial to the survival of the species. “The red panda has been proposed as a suitable indicator species for monitoring the integrity of the eastern Himalayan broadleaf and conifer eco-region,” the authors say. “Red pandas are charismatic mammals, making them an ideal flagship species for harnessing public support for prudent natural resource management.”
They conclude that such management would benefit people as well as red pandas, and would thus support Bhutan’s philosophy of “Gross National Happiness”.Read more at University of New England