Two 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.
Photo 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.
For the first time in Zoo Liberec’s history, they have succeeded in breeding Red Pandas! A pair of young pandas was born, on June 28, at the Czech Republic zoo.
The brother and sister are the offspring of mom, Lotus, who arrived at Liberec from the French Zoo de Bordeaux-Pessac. The father is Kamala, who came from Paradise Park in Cornwall, UK.
Photo Credits: Zoo Liberec
The twins are yet-to-be-named, but zoo staff are intent on them having Asian inspired monikers. The Zoo anticipates them being on public display by September when they will be old enough to begin exploring on their own. They are currently safely tucked away under their mom’s care and supervision.
Red Pandas are native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. They are slightly larger than a domestic cat. They are omnivorous, feeding mainly on bamboo, but they are also known to eat eggs, birds, insects, and small mammals. They are solitary and are mainly active from dusk till dawn.
The Red Panda is the only living species of the genus Ailurus and the family Ailuridae. It had been previously placed in the raccoon and bear families, but results of phylogenetic research indicate strong support for its taxonomic classification in its own family Ailuridae, which along with the weasel, raccoon and skunk families, is part of the superfamily Musteloidea. The Red Panda is not closely related to the Giant Panda.
Kovler Lion House, at Lincoln Park Zoo, is home to an important pair of siblings. Born June 26, the Red Panda cubs are the first of their kind born at Lincoln Park Zoo. The male and female are the offspring of first-time dad, Phoenix, and experienced mom, Leafa.
Photo Credits: Lincoln Park Zoo
The endangered duo currently isn’t visible to the public, nor will they be for some time. Instead, they’re cuddled up in a behind-the-scenes den with mom Leafa, as is typical for the species. They can remain in this cozy space for up to three months, with mom periodically leaving to feed or tend to other needs.
Thanks to a special camera in the den, though, staff can keep an eye on the tiny new arrivals. Red Panda cubs weigh 4-5 ounces at birth and are fully furred, although their coat is yellow as opposed to the bright red of adults. The little ones’ eyes are closed for the first 18 days of life, meaning they’re totally dependent on mom in the crucial early weeks.
The tiny Red Pandas were recently given names in honor of their hometown, Chicago. Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise, is located at the iconic intersection of the streets Clark and Addison. It seemed fitting to name Chicago's other cubs (Red Panda- that is) in honor of the legendary American team. Lincoln Park Zoo's new male cub has been named Clark, and his sister is now known as Addison.
Sharon Zackfia, a committed supporter of Chicago’s free zoo, selected the city-centric names. “As a longtime lover of Red Pandas, I could not be more excited to have the honor of naming Lincoln Park Zoo’s first-ever Red Panda cubs,” she notes. “I am so proud to be a supporter of an institution that has brought so much joy and knowledge to the families of Chicago.”
The cubs themselves continue to do well in their behind-the-scenes den. Curator of Mammals, Mark Kamhout, reports that Clark and Addison are receiving great care from mom Leafa and continuing to hit new milestones. “Their eyes are open now, which is a big development for Red Panda cubs, and it looks like they’ve doubled in size since their physical last week.”
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.
It may be summer in the northern hemisphere, but in New Zealand, it’s almost winter – the perfect time for a pair of Red Panda cubs to debut at the Hamilton Zoo.
Photo Credit: Hamilton Zoo
Born on January 22, the cubs – one male and one female – are thriving under the care of their mother, Tayla. This is Tayla’s fourth litter.
Cubs typically remain in the nest box with their mother for several months before venturing out. At about five to six months of age, Red Panda cubs begin weaning from mother’s milk to a diet of bamboo.
Red Pandas have only one litter of cubs per year. In fact, there is only a 24-hour window each year during which Red Pandas breed. This limited breeding cycle, coupled with habitat loss, contributes to Red Pandas’ decline in the wild. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists Red Pandas as Vulnerable in their native range of southwestern China, northern India, Tibet, Bhutan, Burma and Nepal.
On the morning of January 28th, Adelaide Zoo Panda Keepers made a delightful, yet surprising, discovery during a routine clean of the Red Panda night quarters. Inside were two tiny Red Panda cubs!
Photo Credits: Dave Mattner
Zoo keepers had ruled out the possibility that the Zoo’s eight-year-old female Red Panda was pregnant in December, after the yearly birthing season passed without the arrival of cubs.
Since the discovery, the two ten-week-old cubs have spent most of their time in a private den snoozing, like most newborns do, while tended to by their mum, ‘Imandari’.
The cubs had their first veterinarian exam recently. They received a general health check, and had their first round of vaccinations. It was also confirmed that both cubs are male!
Adelaide Zoo Panda Keeper, Constance Girardi, said Imandari’s previous litter of cubs was still living with her, which would normally inhibit pregnancy. The discovery of the new cubs came as a great surprise.
“While we had noticed a few behaviors that could indicate pregnancy early on, these behaviors soon subsided and when the birthing season (usually around December) passed, we assumed she was not pregnant,” Constance said. “You can imagine our surprise when we noticed some extra bedding in the nesting box, and upon discovery, uncovered two very tiny, very cute red fluff balls!”
Constance continued, “Red Panda cubs are born quite underdeveloped, so it was important that we followed a hands-off approach and allow time for them to grow and develop a bond with their mum. Red Pandas are known for their slow rates of reproduction and high infant mortality rates, so to have two litters of cubs born within 13 months is a fantastic result and a testament to Imandari’s stellar mothering skills.”
As the pair grows, they are expected to become more adventurous and confident with their surroundings. Once they start exploring their habitat, visitors can hope to catch a glimpse of the duo.
Despite their name, Red Pandas are more closely related to raccoons than to their black-and-white counterparts. Native to eastern Himalayas and south-western China, Red Pandas spend most of their time in trees eating bamboo and a variety of fruits, leaves and eggs.
Red Pandas are classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. It is estimated there are fewer than 10,000 left in the wild. The major threats facing Red Pandas in the wild are habitat loss and fragmentation, inbreeding depression, and poaching.
New Zealand’s Auckland Zoo is hearing the pitter-patter of fluffy red feet! A Red Panda cub born in mid-January is growing fast, and keepers were able to snap a few quick photos during the cub’s recent weigh-ins.
Photo Credit: Auckland Zoo
At one month old, the little cub weighed about one pound. Bo, the cub’s mother, appears to be taking good care of her cub, because it increased in weight about 25 percent in one week, adding a quarter-pound.
Cubs stay in the nest until they are about three months old, after which they begin exploring the outside world under mom’s watchful eye. At about five to six months old, cubs begin weaning from mother’s milk to bamboo and other leaves, berries, bird eggs, and flower blossoms.
Red Pandas are native to China, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar, where they inhabit cool, temperate bamboo forests. Fewer than 10,000 adult Red Pandas are thought to live in the wild, where they are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The twins were born July 1st to mother, ‘Sophia’. Unfortunately, Sophia was unable to provide adequate care for the pair. Zoo staff intervened and began hand-rearing the cubs.
The Zoo decided to ask the public for help naming the cubs. In October, the winning names were selected, in honor of famous Nebraska natives: ‘Carson’ for television icon, Johnny Carson, and ‘Willa’ for writer, Willa Cather.
Today, the duo is not only thriving, but they are thoroughly enjoying the holiday season, especially the snow!
With four breeding pairs, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo has one of the most successful Red Panda breeding programs in the United States. But even strong programs experience challenges: Earlier this year, two Red Panda cubs – named Henry and Tink – almost didn’t make it. But thanks to expert care, these two little ones are thriving, and you can see their story in this video.
Photo Credit: Smithsonian's National Zoo
Henry was so sick at birth that keepers weren’t sure he’d survive his first day of life. Because Henry is genetically valuable to the Red Panda Species Survival Plan, the zoo put as many resources as necessary into saving this little cub. Henry stopped breathing, and he was on oxygen for one month. He later overcame a bout of pneumonia, and by the time he was three months old, Henry had increased his weight ten-fold – a huge accomplishment given his rough start in life.
Tink was cared for by her mother for a short time, but she was not growing. Keepers determined that her mother was not producing enough milk. Again, the National Zoo’s staff swung into action and removed Tink from her mother’s care. Today, Tink is gaining weight and growing just as she should.
Henry and Tink are constant companions, and even though Henry is much bigger, the staff says he is extremely gentle with his friend. The two play, explore, and simply hang out together.
You can see Henry and Tink’s story in this web episode of Wild Inside the National Zoo. View the entire series to learn more about the behind-the-scenes operation of the National Zoo.
A Red Panda Cub, at the Kansas City Zoo, recently made his public debut. Born June 17th, the five month old male, named ‘Fei Jai’ (fay-jay), has been behind the scenes since birth, staying close to mom, ‘Gaila’.
Photo Credits: Kansas City Zoo
Fei Jai currently weighs a little over 4 pounds, but considering his birth weight of 4 ounces, he is healthy and developing, as expected. Fei Jei will remain close to his mother until the next mating season begins, and he will reach adult size at about 12 months of age. Like his mother, Gaila, he will be about the size of a house cat, when fully grown.
The curious male cub has just started exploring his exhibit, and he has begun eating the panda staple food, bamboo. Red Pandas primarily eat bamboo leaves and fresh shoots, but they are also known to enjoy berries, blossoms, bird eggs, and small leaves of various other plants. Like all Red Pandas, Fei Jai has a small, bony projection on his wrist that helps him grip bamboo stalks. Giant Pandas also have this thumb-like adaptation.
In 2008, it was determined that approximately 10,000 individual Red Pandas were found globally. Since the population is expected to decline in the future, the Red Panda is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and conservation efforts are in place.