Red Panda

Philly Zoo’s Red Panda Twins Need Names


Philadelphia Zoo recently announced the birth of two Red Panda cubs. The twins, male and female, were born to parents Basil and Spark (both 5-year-olds), on June 26.



4_PhillyZooRedPandaTwinsPhoto Credits: Philadelphia Zoo

 “We are thrilled at the birth of these new cubs,” said Kevin Murphy, Philadelphia Zoo’s General Curator. “The birth is important in the Zoo’s efforts in Red Panda conservation. We work with the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) breeding program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose goal is to manage populations of threatened, endangered and other species across AZA zoos, to maintain long-term genetic and demographic viability. This birth marks an important step towards the plan.”

Mother and twins are doing very well. Spark, an excellent mother, is tending to the very active cubs. The duo are nursing from Spark, as well as eating independently. Their diet consists of fresh bamboo, grapes, apples and biscuits formulated for Red Pandas.

Keepers continue to observe the cubs and their mother, while providing as much privacy as needed. The cubs made their public debut on Wednesday, November 18.

Currently, the Zoo is enlisting the help of Zoo visitors and social media followers to name the Red Panda cubs. Today, November 25, is the final day to vote on the selected names for the twins.

To caste your vote, check out the Philadelphia Zoo’s special webpage:

The Zoo has preselected the following groups of names for the contest:

Ning (pronounced Nink) - male means of peace

Liling (Pronounced LiLink) - female means white Jasmine sound

Betsy - Ross

Benjamin – Franklin



Ceba - Tibetan for "dear to hold"

Pabu- Tibetan for "puffball"

Ponga-  (from Nepali nyala ponga, meaning "eater of bamboo") 

Kaala- (name used by the Limbu people of Nepal meaning "dark")

Continue reading "Philly Zoo’s Red Panda Twins Need Names" »

Reluctant Red Panda Gets the Perfect Name


Drusillas Park, in East Sussex UK, shared news of the birth of a Red Panda this summer. The female cub was born July 17th and is the third to be born at the zoo since 2013.

Mum has looked after the cub in the safety and privacy of their nest box. Although some have been lucky enough to see mum, Mulan, transporting her cub between nesting houses.


3_DrusillasPark_RedPanda_ShylaPhoto Credits: Tammy Smith (Images 1,2,3) / Drusillas Park (4)

Head Keeper, Mark Kenward commented after the cub’s birth, “The Red Pandas have three separate nest boxes, and Mulan will move the baby from one to another, carrying her by the scruff of the neck, so she benefits from the most suitable environment.”

“Mulan is proving to be an excellent mother once again. For the first two days, she remained with her cub approximately 90% of the time. However, after a few days this dropped to around 60%, which is exactly what we would expect of this species.”

Drusillas Park has given the bashful new Red Panda a befitting name-- Shyla.

For the last four months Shyla has been hiding away within one of the group’s three nest boxes.

Visitors enjoy regular sightings of the panda puff as she pops her head out the hide away hole. However, despite multiple attempts by mum Mulan to encourage her out, the cozy cub cannot be tempted.

Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate commented, “Shyla is yet to take those all-important first–steps exploring her enclosure, playing with her sister and meeting our visitors. We have no doubt she will appear in her own good time – her older sister Anmar also took a little while to venture out but you can’t stop her now. Fingers crossed Shyla will follow in her footsteps very soon; I am sure it will be worth the wait.”

The name Shyla was chosen from nearly 200 suggestions, made by followers, on the Drusillas Park Facebook page. Staff thought it a fitting moniker for the ‘peekaboo panda’. 

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.

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 “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

This is the second time Drusillas Park has welcomed Red Panda babies since Mulan’s arrival in 2013. On June 16, 2015, she gave birth to mixed-sex twins, the first of this species to be born at the Zoo throughout their 90 year history.

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Meet the Fluffiest Cubs In Chicago


After growing in size and strength, Lincoln Park Zoo’s first-ever Red Panda cubs Clark, a male, and Addison, a female, are now in their outdoor exhibit!

Photo Credit:  Lincoln Park Zoo
ZooBorns has reported on the cubs’ progress in stories here and here. Born June 26, Addison and Clark have spent the last few months behind-the-scenes with their mother, Leafa. The Red Pandas will be on and off exhibit intermittently as they continue to acclimate from their nest box behind-the-scenes.

“We’re excited to see the cubs explore their outdoor exhibit space and to be able to share their playful nature with our guests,” said Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “The Red Panda cubs continue to grow in size but also in how vocal they are, their activity level, and curiosity levels.” 

Red Pandas are Raccoon-like in appearance and have Panda in their name, but are not related to either species – genetics indicate that Red Pandas belong to a unique family. Red Pandas are native to the Himalayan mountain range and due to habitat loss and poaching, Red Pandas are considered a Vulnerable species.

See more photos of the cubs below.

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Visitors See ‘Bert and Ernie’ at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

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ZSL Whipsnade Zoo recently released the first photos of their new twin Red Panda cubs. The duo, named Bert and Ernie by their keepers, was born June 30.

The cubs had been hiding away in their nesting boxes until recently, when their mum, six year-old Tashi, began carrying them outside for short intervals.

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Photo Credits: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Senior Keeper at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Stephen Perry said, “It’s been magical to see the baby Red Pandas out and about for the first time.

“Red Pandas can be difficult to observe due to their shy and secretive nature, their nocturnal habits and the fact that they spend most of their time up trees. We never see much of their babies for the first couple of months of their lives but it’s worth the wait. They’re incredible and beautiful creatures, and a real visitor favorite.

“Tashi is a brilliant mum, and when the weather gets warmer you sometimes catch her carrying the babies between nesting boxes to find the coolest one for them.”

Bert and Ernie are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), a tool used by zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks across Europe to manage conservation breeding programmes. Bert and Ernie are also the fourth and fifth cubs born to experienced mum Tashi, at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

“Having such a confident mum there is great because it means we can just leave them to it and not interfere. We just check in on Tashi, the boys and their dad, Blue, once a day to make sure everything’s okay,” remarked Perry.

Red Pandas, which are classified as “Vulnerable” by IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species, are found mainly in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar, and southern China. There are thought to be around 10,000 Red Pandas left in the wild. It is estimated that their numbers may have decreased by as much as 40% over the last 50 years due to massive habitat loss, increased human activity and poaching.

As an international conservation and science charity, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) works in Nepal, as well as over 50 other countries, for worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats, through ground-breaking science, conservation projects, as well as two Zoos: ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Detroit Zoo Offers ‘Tofu’ to Lucky Visitors

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Visitors to the Detroit Zoo were recently treated to their first look at a female Red Panda cub. The new cub, born June 22, has been named Tofu and is the offspring of 10-year-old mother, Ta-Shi, and 6-year-old father, Shifu. 

“Ta-Shi took her time bringing her adorable baby girl out into public view, but it was worth the wait,” said Scott Carter, Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) chief life sciences officer. “We’re happy to welcome Tofu to the Detroit Zoo and to contribute to the captive population of this threatened species.” 

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4_Tofu 2 - Roy LewisPhoto Credits: Roy Lewis/DZS (Images 1-5); Patti Truesdell/DZS (Image 6)

Found in the mountainous regions of Nepal, Myanmar and central China, Red Pandas are classified as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, due to deforestation. 

The Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a shy and solitary animal, except when mating. It is about the size of a house cat, with rust-colored fur and an 18-inch white-ringed tail. Red Pandas are skilled and agile climbers, spending most of their time hanging from tree branches or lounging on limbs. 

The Detroit Zoological Society conducts fieldwork in Nepal to study and conserve Red Pandas in the wild. Part of this work requires the use of trail cameras triggered by motion and heat to take pictures and remotely monitor populations of Red Pandas and other species. 

The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS)– a nonprofit organization that operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo – is recognized as a leader in conservation, animal welfare and sustainability as well as providing sanctuary for animals in need of rescue.

The Detroit Zoo, in Royal Oak, is 125 acres of award-winning naturalistic habitats and home to 2,500 animals representing 270 species. The Belle Isle Nature Zoo sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle State Park in Detroit and provides year-round educational, recreational and environmental conservation opportunities for the community. For hours, prices, directions, visit:

5_Tofu with Ta-Shi 3 - Roy Lewis

6_Tofu - Patti Truesdell

Red Panda Duo Debuts at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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The Rosamond Gifford Zoo, in Syracuse, New York, is pleased to announce the birth of two Red Pandas. The male cubs, named Pumori and Rohan, were born on June 25. The zoo estimates that the cubs weighed around two to three ounces at birth, as staff was hands-off for the first 10 days of life. Rohan currently weighs a little over one pound and Pumori a little under.

Their mother, Tabei, is a two-year-old first-time mom. Their father, Ketu, is a four-year-old first-time dad. He came to Syracuse from Hamilton Zoo, in New Zealand, and is valuable to the genetic pool of the North American Red Panda population. 

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4_RGZ red panda 5_Pumori_MariaSimmonsPhoto Credits: Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Like his father Ketu, little Pumori is named after a Himalayan mountain. Rohan means  “ascend” in Sanskrit. Their mother, Tabei, is named after Junko Tabei, the first woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.

“It is always exciting to have new babies at our zoo. These Red Panda cubs are important to the North American population and a testament to the hard work of our zoo staff. I commend the dedicated keepers and veterinarians for their continued success,” said County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney.

“We are very proud of our Red Panda parents, Tabei and Ketu, and the work of our animal staff. We continue to have a successful Red Panda breeding program here at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as part of the Species Survival Plan. The births of Pumori and Rohan will help ensure the survival of this endangered species,” says Zoo Director Ted Fox.

Red Pandas are born blind. Their mother cares for them for the first two to three months of life, until they are weaned. They typically open their eyes around two to three weeks of age. Pumori and Rohan are currently being weaned and will be on exhibit during the day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. inside the zoo’s former birthday party room, located near the Jungle Café seating area. (Schedule subject to change.)

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It's International Red Panda Day!

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September 19th is International Red Panda Day— let's welcome the first ever Red Panda to be born at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall! The tiny cub is just over seven weeks old, born to Germaine and Sandy, who have lived at the zoo for several years. 

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Photo credits: Newquay Zoo

Red Pandas are typically solitary creatures, but young Red Pandas spend over a year with their mother, growing slowly and learning how to forage. Mothers build a nest in a tree hollow or rocky crevice and have litters of one to four cubs. The tiny cubs are born deaf and blind and grow slowly. They open their eyes at about 18 days old, and have their red adult fur by about 90 days old.

Red Pandas live only in the foothills of the Himalayas from western Nepal to northern Myanmar, where they can find their main food source: bamboo. With an estimated wild population of around 10,000 individuals, they are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Their main threats are habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and poaching in some areas. 

Lincoln Park Zoo’s Red Panda Cubs Surpass Milestones


The Red Panda cubs at Lincoln Park Zoo are one step closer to leaving their den. The two-month-old “Rookie Chicago Cubs”, Clark (male) and Addison (female), born June 26, were featured on ZooBorns back in early August.



4_3Photo Credits: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park ZooThey recently had their second physical, and since their initial exam on July 10, Clark’s weight has doubled and Addison has roughly tripled in weight. Both cubs have surpassed milestones such as nursing, opening their eyes, and they have begun changing from their pale yellow fur into the iconic auburn coloration of the Red Panda.

“The Red Panda cubs continue to be healthy and curious of their surroundings. The cubs are often seen trying to explore outside of the den before quickly being scooped up by their mother Leafa,” said Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “With this behavior, we anticipate the cubs will be ready to make their public debut within the next several weeks.”

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Red Panda Cub Born at Longleat Safari Park

1_Red Panda Baby at Longleat PIC Ian Turner

A rare Red Panda cub has been born at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park, in the UK, after keepers launched an international “lonely-hearts ad” to find a mate for the cub's father. It’s the first time the famous Wiltshire safari park has successfully bred Red Pandas, and keepers are delighted with how well the cub, which has yet to be named, is doing.

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4_Red panda mum and dad at Longleat PIC Ian TurnerPhoto Credits: Ian Turner / Longleat Safari & Adventure Park

Dad Ajenda, which means ‘King of the Mountain’, came to Longleat from Germany in 2012, and mum Rufina, meaning ‘red-haired’, arrived from Italy just over a year later, following an appeal by keepers. The birth is particularly welcome as this particular pairing is deemed to be critical to the ongoing success of European Endangered Species Programme for the Red Panda.

Like their famous, but unrelated, namesakes the Giant Pandas, Red Pandas are increasingly endangered in the wild. The species was officially designated as ‘Vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2008 when the global population was estimated at about 10,000 individuals. A ‘Vulnerable’ species is one which has been categorized as likely to become ‘Endangered’ unless the circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve.

“We’re delighted with how well Rufina is looking after the young cub, and both mother and baby are doing brilliantly,” said keeper Robert Curtis.

“Cubs don’t tend to start venturing out on their own for the first three months, and Rufina, like all Red Panda mums, regularly moves the cub to different nesting areas. This is perfectly natural behavior but makes keeping track of the baby...somewhat problematic for us!” Curtis added.

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Red Panda Cubs Are A Perfect Pair

11011769_10153083270748137_3177621361468527736_oTwo Red Panda cubs were born this spring at Austria’s Zoo Salzberg, the first birth of this species at the zoo in more than 13 years. 

11791953_10153083270768137_1156151738392090804_oPhoto Credit:  Zoo Salzberg

The cubs were born to parents Banja and Eros, but are now being hand-reared by the staff after the loss of female Banja in July.

Under the care of zoo keepers, the cubs are developing well and now have their eyes open and weigh about one pound each. 

Red Panda cubs typically emerge from the nest box at 12 weeks old, and are weaned at around five to six months of age. 

Native to mountain forests in China, Nepal, and Myanmar, Red Pandas are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Loss of habitat, caused by a near doubling of the human population in the region in the past 30-40 years, is the primary threat to the species.  As their forest habitat is broken into smaller and smaller chunks, the risk of inbreeding within smaller populations increases. 

These two cubs will be an important part of the worldwide effort to maintain a genetically diverse Red Panda population within zoos.