MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: Can you buy a Red Panda and have it in your home? What would it take?

Date: Sat Apr 2 04:38:14 2011
Posted By: dave armstrong, Faculty, Biology, Cedars Tutoring, Qatar
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 1299994278.Zo

Dear Kattie,

Great to hear you want to be something of a conservationist. However your favourite animal is listed by CITES and is also in the famous “Red List” because there are only 10 thousand left in the wild. That might seem a lot, but it could be overestimated and people could have started destroying them since those figures were published.

On the positive side, there are thousands in zoos and hundreds being born there. You maybe have an idea on the panda’s pleasant domestic nature from a zoo photograph. They are very unsuitable pets as they are nocturnal and would only sleep when you wanted to see them. Some people could easily have an illegal pet, but I fail to see why it shouldn’t be in a semi-free environment where we could breed more and even release them in special areas. Then you could go and see them- perhaps in Tennessee, where a 4 million year old fossil was found. Look at american/

The habitat in the mountains would be perfect for them if they could be carefully fenced off from local animals so that they would not be able to escape beyond the perimeter of their “park”. So that’s the habitat you want and the help of all kinds of conservation organisations would be essential. They would certainly breed there better than in parts of China where they have been hunted for their fur and disappeared completely.

I trust I haven’t been too unrealistic for you in encouraging this ambition. Remember that even if you don’t succeed, if you try, then others will be able to team with you and establish such a “reserve” in India, China, Nepal or any similar country. Write to us again if you have any more ideas and remember that wild animals don’t make perfect pets like thoroughly domesticated ones. A beautiful cat or dog, bought as a puppy and brought up with you in your home has YOU in the habitat from the beginning and its environment is yours. A wild animal has evolved almost certainly to avoid human contact and cannot change its nature to a very great extent. That means it can’t live easily near a home, even though you build a small habitat for it. It needs a vast forest, preferably where it has its native habitat and fauna and flora.

Good luck in your ambitions.

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