The ‘Turning Red’ panda is endangered

Image via Disney/Pixar

Pixar’s Turning Red is a hit on Disney Plus and has prompted those in the conservation community to remind the public of the endangered status of its star animal (the red panda) while the eyes of the world are more focused on it.

Today Atmos filed an article noting there are as few as 2,500 estimated to be in the wild. Zoos have helped with some conservation, but, the animal Meilin Lee turns into when her emotions spike in the film has a low cub survival rate.

“One study found about 36 percent of captive cubs died in their first year. Data analysis of male and female red pandas between 2002 and 2018 found first-year mortality rates ranging from between 28 and 34 percent. One-in-four red panda cubs born in zoos between 2002 and 2019 did not survive after 30 days. These programs may help increase wild populations, but only four red pandas have ever transitioned from captivity. A cub produced by one of them went missing from its nest after one month.”

The piece goes on to note the key to protecting the animal’s territories in Asia is conservation efforts dedicated to reducing wood collection and providing local community members with more efficient means of heating their homes so they do not have to cut down trees. Local governments are doing this in China, and Disney is aware of its power to help as well. The company announced earlier this month it will be giving a grant to groups in Nepal to keep the red panda alive there, and company representative Kelly Camunez said the film was a great moment for raising awareness.

Turning Red is the perfect opportunity to inspire fans to learn about a real endangered species that needs help, while carrying on Disney’s legacy of supporting conservation globally through $120 million invested by our Disney Conservation Fund.”