Ryo and Pele, Red Pandas at the Memphis Zoo, welcomed their first cub on July 1. Unfortunately, mom was unable to care for her tiny cub, named Justin, so he was moved to the zoo’s hospital where he is being hand-reared.
Justin is being bottle fed at the hospital, where he will remain for another month. Keepers will gradually begin to thicken his milk to a gruel-like consistency with crushed leaf-eater biscuits, which adult Red Pandas enjoy in their daily diet. Once he is adjusted to the gruel mix, Justin will be weaned off the bottle and begin eating his food from a bowl.
In addition to a new diet, Justin is also getting a potential mate. Because it’s best to hand-rear Red Panda cubs in pairs, a female Red Panda cub born at the Bronx Zoo is being transferred to the Memphis Zoo to be raised alongside Justin.
Red Pandas, once thought to be related to Giant Pandas, are actually related to raccoons. These nocturnal animals are tree dwellers, and have large, bushy tails to maintain balance while climbing. Red Pandas are native to the Himalayan Mountains in Asia.
Photo Credit: Memphis Zoo