On June 6, Oklahoma City Zoo staffers quietly witnessed the eleventh Red Panda birth in the zoo’s history - a female. This is the first baby for Mom Jaya, who came to the zoo at the end of 2011, but the ninth cub for Yoda, the father. The newborn was named KayDee in honor of Oklahoma City Thunder player Kevin Durant -- known to fans as K.D. -- whose team won it’s first Western Conference championship on that very same night.
“We’ve been eager to introduce KayDee to the public since June,” said Newton “but she needed time to bond with her mother and grow a little before we did.”
After a four-and-a-half month gestation period, KayDee was born weighing less than a pound (.45 kg). First-time mom Jaya cared for her well, and now, at three months old, she weighs approximately 4 pounds (1.8 kg). KayDee is transitioning from nursing to eating solid foods; she's begun chewing bamboo just like her parents and shortly she’ll be able to eat high-fiber, nutritional biscuits, apples, pears, grapes and various enrichment foods. And she is rambunctious - bouncing around and snorting as baby pandas are wont to do!
Read more about this little Red Panda after the fold:
“We never had to intervene,“ said Keeper Chrislyn Newton. "We developed trust with Jaya and though very watchful, she allows us to help with her cub if needed. We check KayDee’s weight and body condition regularly and ensure her mother is producing enough milk.”
Guests can now see KayDee with her parents in their habitat. KayDee usually leaves her nest early in the morning and later in the evening to play.