A Vulnerable species is one which has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as likely to become Endangered unless the circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve. There are currently 4728 animals and 4914 plants classified as Vulnerable, compared with 1998 levels of 2815 and 3222, respectively.
Vulnerability is mainly caused by habitat loss or destruction. Vulnerable species are monitored and are becoming threatened. However, some species listed as "vulnerable" may in fact be quite abundant in captivity, examples being the blue poison dart frog.
According to the IUCN they use several criteria to enter species to this Vulnerable category.
A taxon is Vulnerable when it is not Critically Endangered or Endangered but is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future, as defined by any of the following criteria (A to E):
A) Population reduction in the form of either of the following:
1) An observed, estimated, inferred or suspected reduction of at least 20% over the last 10 years or three generations, whichever is the longer, based on (and specifying) any of the following:
a) direct observation
b) an index of abundance appropriate for the taxon
The red panda (Ailurus fulgens, lit. "shining cat"), is a small arboreal mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China and related to raccoons, skunks and weasels. It is the only extant species of the genus Ailurus and the family Ailuridae. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, it has reddish-brown fur, a long, shaggy tail, and a waddling gait due to its shorter front legs. It feeds mainly on bamboo, but is omnivorous and may also eat eggs, birds, insects, and small mammals. It is a solitary animal, mainly active from dusk to dawn, and is largely sedentary during the day.
The red panda has been classified as Vulnerable by IUCN because its population is estimated at fewer than 10,000 mature individuals. Although red pandas are protected by national laws in their range countries, their numbers in the wild continue to decline mainly due to habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, and inbreeding depression.