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Sweet Red Panda Sisters at Denver Zoo

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Denver Zoo welcomed the birth of two Red Pandas on June 6. The female cubs, named Lali and Masu, are currently in a nesting box and are being cared for by their mother, Faith.

On rare occasion, Zoo guests may see the mother bring the cubs outside the nesting box. However, the cubs will remain mostly behind the scenes until September, when they’re more developed and ready to fully join their father, Hamlet, in the Red Panda exhibit.

Zookeepers are keeping a close eye on Lali and Masu; Zoo veterinarians perform regular exams to check weight, temperature and overall wellness.

In their first weeks of life, the cubs were not gaining weight or regulating their body temperatures. Both were diagnosed with pneumonia and started on daily tube feedings, antibiotics and fluids. They slowly began gaining weight and recovering, and are now off of treatment and doing well under the care of their mother. Recently they began opening their eyes but, as newborns do, they sleep most of the day and night.

This is a first litter for both parents. Faith, the mother, was born in June 2014, and dad, Hamlet, was born July 2013. Faith made her way to Denver from Trevor Park Zoo, and Hamlet arrived from Toronto Zoo, last year, under breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan.

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Red_panda_cubs_03Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

In the wild, the Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) inhabits the Himalayan mountains of China, India and Nepal, where they are threatened by habitat destruction and hunting. They are currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The Red Panda communicates with squeaks, chattering noises and chipmunk-like sounds.

Although it shares the same name, the Red Panda is not related to the Giant Panda. In fact, the Red Panda is not related to any other animals, making it unique.

As with the Giant Panda, female Red Pandas are only fertile for just one day a year and can delay implantation until conditions are favorable. They give birth to between one and four young at a time, and the cubs are born with pale fluffy fur, which darkens to the distinctive red coloration of the adults over the first three months.

Red Pandas, like Giant Pandas, have very specialized diet requirements and eat a large amount of bamboo daily.

Red Pandas are part of the Global Species Management Plan (GSMP) in zoos around the world. GSMP is allied with field conservation efforts for animals around the world.

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