Binder Park Zoo is hearing the pitter-patter of tiny feet again! On June 12th, 2010, Binder Park Zoo’s female red panda, Delilah, gave birth to two cubs. The Zoo’s animal care staff was concerned at first as red pandas often reject their babies in captivity, but Delilah has proven to be an excellent mother. She has become the first female red panda to raise her own cubs at Binder Park Zoo.
This is a big step forward for red panda conservation. Red pandas are listed as an endangered species and with this in mind, Binder Park Zoo works with the red panda Species Survival Plan (SSP) to ensure the captive population remains genetically strong. Delilah is 4 years old and is on loan to Binder Park Zoo from the Bronx Zoo as she was genetically matched to breed with Binder’s 8 year old male, Fagen. Fagen can be seen on exhibit everyday until the process begins of introducing Delilah and her cubs to the exhibit, which will start taking place this weekend and continuing until the end of the season. The introduction is dependent on the weather and the Red Panda cubs may not be on exhibit on a constant basis. During this time Fagen will be moved to an off-exhibit breeding area as the males take no part in helping to rear the young.
Make sure to come on out to Binder Park Zoo before the end of the season to get a sneak peek at Flynn and Sorrel as they get used to their new surroundings.
Red Pandas are found in the mountainous regions of China, Nepal, India, Bhutan, and into Tibet. The main threats to their survival are habitat loss due to deforestation for agriculture and livestock and poaching as the red panda’s fur is still highly prized, especially for warm winter hats. They eat a diet of bamboo leaves supplemented by fruit, but they will occasionally eat eggs and insects as well. They are also known to invade rice farms which puts them at risk for retaliation from the farmers.