Twin Red Panda cubs born on June 18 at Zoo Boise made their media debut last week. The cubs, a male and a female, are the fifth litter born to parents Dolly and Winston.
Photo Credit: Zoo Boise
Just five weeks old, the cubs still spend most of their time in the den with Dolly, but will soon being to emerge for short periods of time. The cubs have not yet been named.
Native to the eastern Himalaya mountains, Red Pandas live in forested foothills at relatively high elevations. They feed primarily on bamboo, but also eat berries, flowers, roots, mushrooms, eggs, and small birds.
Red Pandas typically breed only once per year, usually in January or February, and cubs are born in June or July. The cubs remain with their mother in a hollow tree for several months before emerging to explore the forest.
Because their wild habitat is vanishing due to deforestation, Red Panda populations are in decline. In some areas of their range, poaching is a significant threat. Red Pandas are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Zoo breeding programs like the Species Survival Plan aim to maintain a high level of genetic diversity in zoo populations to help preserve this species for the future.