As the red panda cubs at the Smithsonian grow, a team observes them. Scientists use cameras to watch mothers and cubs in their dens. They study the pandas’ droppings, or poop. Chemicals in the droppings can show whether an animal is stressed or sick.
This research will give scientists a clearer idea of how to help red pandas in the wild.
For example, if scientists learn that loud noises stress out red panda mothers, people could work to limit human activity in the forest during the times when cubs are born.
Kordell, the animal keeper, hopes that the more people learn about red pandas, the harder they will work to protect them. “We don’t want to lose this species,” she says.