4 Reasons Why Pandas Get Hunted (Explained!)

Have you ever thought that cute black and white creatures called pandas can get hunted? If you think so, then you are right!

Despite of many preventive measures by the Chinese government, giant pandas are still hunted.

There are several reasons for hunting this animal. Be it for making commercial products, for trophy hunting, or for their meat- people are so selfish to fulfill their own motives.

So, read the entire article to know more about why these creatures are hunted and what lawful steps are being taken by the government to prevent them. 

Table of Contents

Commercial Products

A picture of commercial products for which pandas are hunted

Producing commercial products from the body parts of pandas is one of the biggest reasons why pandas are hunted by humans. 

The desire for their skin and paws is the main factor that results in the hunting of giant pandas. This is because panda paws and skin are both considered valuable commodities. 

When giant pandas were first discovered by people from other countries in the late 1800s, this led to an increase in poaching and killing them for their fur.

However, hunting stopped after the 1930s as a result of the war and the new regime. But locals continued to hunt pandas for food and fur well into the 1980s.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), poaching, which was traditionally a concern to wild pandas in China, has decreased.

Not only poaching but also smuggling was once again at an all-time high.

Panda Meat

Hunting of giant pandas for their flesh has happened despite the fact that there is not a particularly high market for giant panda meat.

In spite of that, ten individuals were detained in China in May 2015 for the death of a female panda and the subsequent sale of its meat.

On the illegal market, the meat of a huge panda can reportedly fetch a price of up to one hundred thousand dollars.


A picture showing superstition as a reason for which pandas are hunted

Another reason to hunt pandas can be people’s superstitious beliefs that come from the old world.

According to sources, people in ancient China were afraid of pandas. This is because they were thought of as metal-eating herbivorous “tapirs,” which looked like pig-like black-and-white animals. 

Furthermore, an American biologist and naturalist wrote ‘The Last Panda’ in 1993 describing how Chinese people used to hunt and pelt pandas for their fur. 

They thought that sleeping on panda fur could keep ghosts away and fix the menstrual cycle of a woman. 

They also believed panda urine could melt a needle that had been eaten.

In other words, no matter how modern we have become, there will still be people who believe in the old norms. And those old superstitions are another reason for the pandas getting hunted even today.

Trophy Hunting

Some hunters of the large game even try to bring pandas as trophies by hunting them.

Theodore Jr. and Kermit Roosevelt made an expedition to China in November 1928 with the stated goal of being the first Westerners to kill a giant panda. It took the brothers a total of eight months to complete the mission, which ended with the killing of a giant panda in the highlands of Sichuan Province.

Although in the 21st century, trophy hunting has been reduced by a huge amount. But because of the tendency of human beings to compete, the giant pandas are in danger of becoming a target of trophy hunting.

So, now that you know the reasons behind hunting pandas, you may wonder how people hunt them.

How do People Hunt Pandas?

In order to successfully hunt pandas, hunters typically employ strategies like baiting, calling, spot-and-stalk, or tracking with hounds.

These are some of the traditional hunting methods. But people also hunt by using snares, traps, and probably shotguns.

For example in 1928, Theodore Jr. and Kermit Roosevelt hunted a giant panda by shooting it.

Now, you should know the legal laws taken by the government to punish such hunters.

Are There Laws Protecting Pandas From Getting Hunted?

Yes, there are laws to protect pandas from getting hunted.

The majority of the work that has been done to save pandas has focused on safeguarding their habitat, passing laws to penalize poachers and smugglers, and reproducing pandas in captivity.

The protection of the panda, along with that of other species of wildlife and flora, was included in the Constitution of China by the Chinese government.

Several laws were passed during this time period, including the:

  • Forest Law (1984),
  • Wildlife Law (1988),
  • Environmental Protection Law (1989).

This amendment stated that the penalties for smuggling giant pandas would be as follows:

“smugglers of Giant Pandas shall have a punishment of at least a 10-year sentence and confiscation of property; under grave circumstances, life sentence or even death sentence together with a total confiscation of property shall be applied.”

In 2007, Shaanxi Province passed a regional law with the intention of increasing the level of protection for the Qinling Mountains, which are home to the critically endangered giant panda.

The legislation’s motive is to protect the variety of plant and animal life.

What Are The Penalties For Hunting A Panda?

PRC criminal law mandates a minimum of ten years in prison for anyone caught illegally killing endangered or critically endangered wildlife like pandas.

Those caught illegally importing, transporting, or selling wildlife or wildlife products will also face fines or confiscation of the property depending on the severity of their actions.

The Supreme People’s Court of China has issued judicial interpretations that state that any illegal hunting, killing, purchasing, transporting, or selling of one or more pandas is to be regarded as very serious. 

This applies where there are one or more pandas involved.

In China, those convicted of committing crimes against national symbols and treasures are subject to the death penalty. These crimes include the theft of cultural relics and the killing of giant pandas.

Now that you know the penalties paid by the hunters, you must know the steps to take to save pandas from being hunted. 

How To Save Pandas From Being Hunted?

Even though giant pandas were taken off the list of endangered species in 2016, they are still regarded as being at a high risk of being hunted.

So, here we will discuss a few necessary steps to take to save pandas from being hunted.

  • Conservation of panda habitats.
  • Create green corridors to merge up different panda colonies.
  • The government should patrol against smugglers and poachers.
  • Need for continuous investigation as well as monitoring.
  • Educating local people about the importance of pandas in our ecosystem.
  • Governments should increase fines for people who participate in smuggling.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has been collaborating with the National Conservation Program of the Chinese government to protect the giant panda and the environment in which it lives.

As a result of this effort, panda reserves currently encompass a total area of forest that is greater than 3.8 million acres.

The most recent statistics indicate that there are currently 1,864 pandas living in the wild; this number is up from 1,596 in 2004, which is a direct result of the conservation efforts made in China.


To sum up, the commercial hunting of pandas for making market products is a story of many decades.

This is because the human race will go to any extent to make its motives fulfilled.

For many years, pandas have been hunted by people for the following reasons:

  • producing commercial products from their body parts
  • smuggling
  • trophy hunting
  • making medicines and more!

However, the hunting of pandas has reduced to a huge level due to the noble legal steps taken by the Chinese government. Now, there are several laws and punishments for illegal smugglers and hunters.

Also, these cute creatures are worth conserving as they are very important for several reasons. 

Read our article “Why Are Giant Pandas Important?” to learn more about the importance of pandas, and the need to save them.