Watch the Bittersweet Rescue of Red Pandas from Wildlife Smugglers
Poaching for the exotic pet business, from talking parrots to nocturnal primates, harms millions of wild animals and threatens their populations. Could endangered red pandas—about the size of a house cat and known for their adorable looks—be the next in-demand species?
That’s a question on the mind of Rod Mabin, regional communication director for Australia-based Free the Bears, a conservation organization that runs sanctuaries in Southeast Asia. On January 13 his team helped customs officials in Laos rescue six red pandas. They were found during a random inspection of a van about 10 miles from the Chinese border.
According to Mabin, the incident marks the first time red pandas have been seized in Laos and is likely