Endemic to the temperate forests of the Himalayas, the Red Panda ranges from Nepal in the west toChina in the east. It is also found in northern India, Bhutan and northern Myanmar. Accurate population figures in the wild are difficult to find, with estimates ranging from 11,000 to 20,000 worldwide. Although it is protected by law in all countries where it lives, its numbers in the wild continue to decline mainly due to habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, and inbreeding depression.
The Red Panda is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN red list (2009.01), and is listed in CITESappendix I. It has been previously classified in the families Procyonidae (raccoon) and Ursidae(bears), but recent research has placed it in its own family Ailuridae, in superfamily Musteloideaalong with Mustelidae, Procyonidae, and Mephitidae. Two subspecies are recognized.
The Red Panda is quite adaptable to living in captivity and is common in zoos worldwide. As of 2006 the international studbook listed more than 800 individuals in zoos and parks around the world.