Red Pandas are only distantly related to their better known black and white Giant Panda cousins, but they do share the panda name and a love of bamboo. While these little furballs were born back in June of 2008 at the Red River Zoo in North Dakota, they are news to us here at ZooBorns and we figured we should share them. Named Xiao Li (male) and Li Ming (female), more pictures and information are available on the Zoo's Red Panda blog.
Xiao Li (meaning Little Beauty) at 1 week
Sleepy red pandas at 4 weeks
From the Red River Zoo's red panda cub blog:
On June 10, 2008 one male and one female red panda baby were born at the Red River Zoo. Early that morning, our female panda Shan Tou was acting different. She was in her nest box and had brought various toys and branches in with her. She wouldn't come out of the nest box and was not interested in food. I decided to leave her off exhibit and check in on her later.
When I went to check on her that afternoon, I heard a baby panda as soon as I came into the holding area. (They make a high pitched "wheet" sound). I looked in the nest box and saw at least one baby. I immediately left to tell the staff the good news.
Later on that evening, I got her to come out of the nest box. Thats when I saw that there were 2 babies! It has been 6 years since the zoo last had baby red pandas and the entire staff is thrilled.
The Red River Zoo is very careful with the new cubs. The first concern is whether the babies are nursing and if the female is producing enough milk. To check this, the cubs are weighed daily for the first few days, then every 3 days for a month, then weekly after that to make sure they are gaining enough weight. The second concern is stress on the mother. If she is stressed she could start moving the babies and accidently injure the babies in the process. For this reason, since the pandas are most comfortable with me, I am the only one allowed in the holding area for the first couple of weeks. I also limit the time I am in there - only going in to feed Shan Tou or weigh the cubs.