On June 20, three little faces - two male and one female -- were seen in the Chinese Red Panda nesting box at Red River Zoo in Fargo, ND. This is the second time the zoo has had triplet Red Pandas. The mom is Wei Da and the father is Rusty, a male on a breeding loan from the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
At birth, each of the cubs weighed in around 130 grams. Now, at 6 weeks old, the babies weigh just about a pound (4590 gms) and are doing well. Zoo keepers say Wei Da is doing a great job as mom, especially with three cubs to raide all at once!
The Red River Zoo is extremely proud of this birth, proving it continues to be a major player in the conservation of Chinese Red Pandas. The Zoo first started producing Red Panda cubs in 2000 when Liwu was born. A total of 11 cubs have now been born in Fargo, North Dakota, and this is the first time a Red River Zoo cub has had babies! And that is no small feat... Red pandas are very difficult to breed in captivity, because there's only about one day a year that the parents are interested in procreation!
Leafa, Wei Da’s littermate who is now at the NEW Zoo in Wisconsin, also had a cub this year, further showing what a critical role the Red River Zoo plays in the ongoing breeding program for the Red Pandas. hinese Red Pandas are endangered due to major habitat loss.
The Red River Zoo will also be holding a naming contest for the cubs. This essay contest will be open to youths age 18 or younger through an 500 words or less essay in support of your name choice. Details of this contest can be found HERE on the Red River Zoo's website.