Throughout the project, we will be monitoring changes in people’s awareness and knowledge of red pandas in response to red panda research and education. The baseline household survey showed that 67 percent of respondents have sighted red pandas while herding yaks in the forests whilst 33 percent had not seen them. While a few of the sightings were in the recent past, the majority of sightings happened between 10 to 30 years ago which may indicate a decline in red panda numbers.
About 70% of respondents did not know anything regarding changes to red panda population. Nine percent of the respondents said red panda numbers had increased and eight percent thought they had decreased. About five percent said the number had not changed. One respondent had seen a carcass of a red panda mauled and killed by domestic dogs. See red panda charts
Almost 75% of respondents did not know anything about breeding or movement of red pandas. Some respondents said that red pandas move towards lower altitudes during winter especially when it snows and return to higher altitude during summer. They also think that red panda move within a small range while others think they stay in the same area where there is bamboo. On red panda breeding, one respondent said they breed in hollow tree trunks and raise one or two young ones. Some respondents think red panda breed on tree tops in autumn whereas others think they breed among wood and bushes in summer.
Regarding red panda diet, the 40% of respondents said red pandas eat bamboo, 25% said grass and 21% and eight percent of respondents think red panda eat wild fruits and leaves respectively. One respondent assumed that red panda eat insects found in cow dung. Respondents gave a range of suggestions on protecting red pandas including protecting habitat, replanting bamboo inside red panda habitat, creation of a restricted zone, awareness creation among herders and promoting sustainable grazing. Red panda has religious and cultural significance and sighting is a lucky omen. Some respondents see red panda conservation as a means to promote eco-tourism and bring tourists to their area. On the other hand, one respondent was skeptical about red panda habitat protection and creation of buffer zones for fear it may restrict movement of people and livestock in the area.