CZAAWE Resource Article

Current husbandry situation of red pandas in Japan
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is an endangered semi‐arboreal folivore with a specialized diet of bamboo leaves. Zoos worldwide maintain red pandas under a variety of housing environments and husbandry procedures that may affect the reproductive success and longevity of captive red pandas. The aims of the present study were to investigate how red pandas are kept in Japan and to obtain useful insights to increase their longevity by comparing the results from a questionnaire sent to Japanese zoos and those from a previous survey conducted in other countries. We received responses from 42 out of 52 zoos, holding a total of 219 individual red pandas, in Japan. The age‐sex distribution indicated that red panda populations in Japan need close attention to be maintained sustainably. Of the husbandry aspects surveyed, the number of individuals in the same zoo, enclosure size, and the frequency of bamboo feeding factors indicated to affect reproductive success. Frequent monitoring of body weight, implementation of husbandry training, and bamboo feeding were also suggested as the reasons for the longevity of red pandas in Japan. Zoos were provided with sufficient physical features in on‐exhibit enclosures, close monitoring for health status, and proper feeding, but other aspects of husbandry such as enclosure size and structures in off‐exhibit spaces were insufficient and might compromise animal welfare.