Red Panda

Red, White and New at Kansas City Zoo

KC ZOO Red Panda-2

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’.  

KC ZOO Red Panda

KC ZOO Red Panda-3

KC ZOO Red Panda-4Photo 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.

It’s All About that Pumpkin

African Lion Cub_San Diego Zoo

Pumpkins are everywhere, this time of year! They make great pies, Jack-O-Lanterns, and pretty awesome enrichment toys for zoo animals. Happy Halloween from ZooBorns!

Charlie_Nashville Zoo

Red Panda_Lincoln Children's Zoo


Photo Credits: Tammy Spratt/San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Image 1: African Lion Cub); Amiee Stubbs Photography (Image 2: "Charlie" the Porcupine at Nashville Zoo); Lincoln Children's Zoo (Image 3: "Lincoln" the Red Panda); ZooAmerica (Image 4: "Rainier" the Mountain Lion); Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn (Image 5: Elephants); Sue Ogrocki (Images 6-Gorilla,7-Red River Hogs,10-Galapagos Tortoise at Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens); Minnesota Zoo (Image 8: Lynx); The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens (Image 9: Meerkats)

More great pumpkin pics below the fold!

Continue reading "It’s All About that Pumpkin" »

First Red Panda Cub in 18 Years for Belfast Zoo

(3)  Red panda are referred to as _fire foxes_ and, for this reason, keepers named her _Phoenix_.  The phoenix is a mythological creature associated with fire.

It’s been 18 years since the Belfast Zoo last welcomed a Red Panda cub, so when a baby was born on July 3, it was cause for celebration! 

(1)  Belfast Zoo is celebrating the first red panda cub to be born at the Cave Hill site in 18 years!
(2)  The new arrival was born to proud parents, Plocia and Chris.  She will be cared for by Plocia for the first year of her life.
(5)  When not foraging for food on the ground, the red panda spends most of its time in the trees!
Photo Credit:  Belfast Zoo

The female cub was born to mother Plocia and father Chris. Her parents came to Belfast from zoos in Poland and the Netherlands as part of a global collaborative breeding program. 

Zoo keepers named the cub Phoenix after a mythological creature associated with fire, a nod to Red Pandas’ nickname of ‘fire fox.’

Red Pandas are born blind and develop very slowly.  Phoenix has stayed in her nest box since birth but recently ventured out for the first time to explore her enclosure with Plocia.  Zoo keepers had just enough time to take a few photos before Phoenix and Plocia returned to the safety of the nest box.

When not foraging for food on the ground, Red Pandas spend most of their time in the trees.  Sharp claws make them agile climbers and long, striped tails aid in balance.  Red Pandas are native to the Himalayas in Bhutan, Southern China, Pakistan, India, Laos, Nepal and Burma but it is believed that there could be fewer than 2,500 in the wild.

Zoo Manager Mark Challis said, “Red Panda numbers are declining quite dramatically and they are already extinct in some areas of China, where they were once historically found.  We are all delighted to welcome Phoenix to the zoo family and we are proud to be playing an active role in the conservation of the Red Panda.”

See more photos of the cub below.

Continue reading "First Red Panda Cub in 18 Years for Belfast Zoo" »

Peekaboo, Little Red Panda!

Panda cub (2)
A baby Red Panda has arrived at Franklin Park Zoo!  Born on June 19, the male cub stayed in the nest box for about 90 days with his mother, Carys, and is just now peeking out to greet zoo visitors.   Red panda cub 2 (2)

Red panda cub - credit Melissa Durham (2)
Red panda cub and mom 3 (3)Photo Credit:  Franklin Park Zoo (1,2,4); Melissa Durham (3)

The cub was recently given access to the outdoor exhibit, which means he can choose to stay indoors or outdoors.  A video monitor allows zoo visitors to see the cub in the nest box if he is not outdoors.

“We are thrilled to announce this exciting birth. Carys has proven to be an excellent mother and she is doing everything an attentive Red Panda mother should,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO, who added, “The cub is very curious and it is fun to watch him explore and learn new skills from his mother.”

Zoo New England participates in the Red Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species. This birth is the result of a recommended breeding between Carys and her mate, Yang. This is the first cub for Carys.

Red Pandas live in the cool temperate bamboo forests in the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan in China, as well as in the Himalayas and Myanmar. Red Pandas have a small bony projection on their wrists that helps them grip bamboo stalks, which make up a significant portion of their diet. This species is declining and threatened by habitat loss in the wild.  Red Pandas are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


Parallel Playmates at Lincoln Children’s Zoo


Lincoln Children’s Zoo, in Nebraska, is excited to announce two new stars in their zoo family, Red Panda twins!  The siblings, a boy and a girl, were born July 1st to mother, Sophia.




Photo Credits: Lincoln Children's Zoo

Because the soon-to-be-named duos mother needed intervention with her new babies, they are being hand raised by keepers at the zoo. 

The cubs are doing exceedingly well and displaying all the marks of healthy, active siblings. The female cub has a stuffed animal frog she is friends with and loves napping on. The male cub is full of energy, and like a typical brother, loves to pick on his sister. One of his favorite activities is to provoke his sister into a fight and, then, tease her with a hasty retreat.

The female cub will live at the zoo for the next year, and the male will move to another zoo in the coming months. The cub's names will be announced soon!

Native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China, the Red Panda is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Their population in the wild continues to decline due to habitat loss, poaching, and inbreeding depression. 

Red Panda Cub Debuts at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

Maliha in bowl with logo 8-28-14Right on schedule, Maliha, a 3-month-old Red Panda cub at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, began coming out of her nest box last week.  Most Red Panda cubs emerge from the nest at about 12 weeks of age.

IMG_4499 w logo
Maliha among leaves with logo
Maliha and Xiao 9-2 with logoPhoto Credit:  Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

According to zoo keepers, Maliha has a bold personality that sometimes makes her mother, Xiao, nervous.  Maliha likes to climb and explore, with her mother often following close behind, calling out warnings to the daring cub.  Sometimes, Xiao will urge Maliha back into the nest box, as if to say “Playtime is over!”

Zoo keepers say Maliha is strong and feisty, and is steadily gaining weight.  She now weighs about two pounds. 

You first met Maliha on ZooBorns in July.  Born on June 9, Maliha is especially important because she is the first Red Panda cub to survive at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.  Xiao gave birth to two previous litters, but none of her offspring survived more than two weeks.  About half of all Red Panda cubs die within the first 30 days after birth.  

Xiao’s breeding with her mate, Junjie, was recommended by the Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).

Red Pandas are found only in the mountainous regions of Nepal, Myanmar, and central China.  They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, primarily due to habitat destruction.  The SSP carefully manages this species to maintain a genetically diverse, demographically stable, and self-sustaining zoo population. 

See more photos of the Red Panda cub below.

Continue reading "Red Panda Cub Debuts at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo " »

Red Panda Birth Announced at Nashville Zoo


The Nashville Zoo announced this week the birth of a female Red Panda cub on July 3.  The cub is doing well and bonding with her mother in their off-exhibit den. 


Photo Credit: Amiee Stubbs

Known for their teddy bear-like appearance and red fur, Red Pandas are native to the mountains of Central China, Nepal and northern Myanmar (Burma). They are considered vulnerable to extinction due to habitat destruction. In addition, slow rates of reproduction and high infant mortality rates make it very hard for this species to rebound from population declines.

“Red Panda mothers are very prone to stress and easily agitated, which could cause them to reject or unintentionally harm the cubs,” said Karen Rice, carnivore supervisor. “Because of the high infant mortality rate, we took every precaution possible to ensure the baby was delivered and cared for safely.”  

The zoo staff worked to make the expectant mother comfortable by providing space for “denning” several months prior to her expected delivery date.

“We anticipated a late June/early July birth so we denned up our female in May. She was confined in the building that she is used to and provided with a choice of nest boxes and most importantly – air conditioning!” Rice said.

Animal care staff monitored the female for signs of stress and added video cameras to the nest boxes. These precautions allowed staff to observe the cub’s arrival, nursing, and other important milestones with disturbing mother and cub.

“After our female gave birth we made the decision to continue our hands-off approach since all was going so well. At one month of age, we did our first neonate exam and determined the cub to be female, in good health and weighing just under two pounds. The cub and mom both did well and were happily reunited right after.”

The Zoo’s two Red Panda adults are a part of AZA’s Species Survival Program, which manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining captive population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. If the cub continues to thrive, the zoo will debut the cub this fall.  At about a year old, she will most likely leave Nashville Zoo to be paired with a mate for breeding. 

If all continues to progress, the Zoo hopes to debut the cub this fall.  

Brilliant Red Panda Duo at Chester Zoo

Red panda cubs_Chester Zoo_2

Keepers at Chester Zoo, in the UK, were happily surprised by the arrival of two new Red Panda cubs!

Red panda cubs_Chester Zoo_3

Red panda cubs_Chester Zoo_1

Red panda cubs_Chester Zoo_4Photo Credits: Steve Rawlins (Photo 4: Mother "Nima"; Photo 5: Father "Jung")

The cubs recently had their first health check-up, and are doing very well. The Red Panda twins, a boy and a girl, were born on June 27 to first-time mother, Nima, and dad, Jung.  Keepers were alerted to their arrival after hearing “little squeaks” from inside their nesting box. Keeper Maxine Bradley said, “Our two cubs are in very good shape. They’re big and strong with very thick fur. Our male weighed in at just under 1kg (2.2 lbs) and our female 842g (1.9 lbs). We’re really pleased with how well they’re doing, and as soon as we had given them a health check, we popped them back into their nest. It’ll be several weeks until they start to emerge and explore.”

Red Pandas, whose scientific name Ailurus fulgens means ‘brilliant cat’, are native to the steep forested slopes of the Himalayas. They are a one-of-a-kind in the animal kingdom as they have no close living relatives. According to the IUCN Red List, they are classified as “Vulnerable”. There are estimated to be less than 10,000 individuals in the wild, with a projected decline of 10% within the next 30 years.

Not only has Chester Zoo been successful at breeding Red Pandas, but the zoo also plays an important role in helping safeguard the future of this rare species in its Chinese homeland. The zoo supports the Sichuan Forest Biodiversity Project in the Sichuan Mountains of China, where Red Pandas are found in the wild. The future survival of the species is increasingly vulnerable as developers are taking over the bamboo forests which they depend on to live. Bamboo is the main food in their daily diet. They're also hunted for their prized red fur, which in parts of the world is used to make hats for newly-weds. Some indigenous people believe the fur symbolizes a happy marriage.

Chester Zoo is a registered conservation charity that supports projects around the world and in the UK. Through its wildlife conservation campaign, Act for Wildlife, the zoo is helping to save highly threatened species around the world from extinction. 

Red panda cubs_Chester Zoo_5

Red Pandas Born at Drusillas Park, UK Residents Can Enter To Win Cool ZooBorns Prizes, Park Tickets and More!


It’s panda-monium at Drusillas Park in East Sussex following the birth of two Red Panda babies; the first of their kind to be born in the zoo’s 89 year history!
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. Red Pandas give birth to between one and four young at a time and the cubs are born with pale fluffy fur.


Mulan with the red panda babies


This week we have teamed up with the lovely people from Drusillas Park to offer UK residents the chance to win some FANTASTIC PRIZES! All you need to do is LIKE AND SHARE both Drusillas' Facebook page and ZooBorns' Facebook page! The prizes up for grabs this time are.....#drumroll.....


Good luck to all of those who enter! THE COMPETITION IS OPEN TO UK RESIDENTS ONLY!

Fort Wayne's Red Panda Cub is "Feisty, Chubby, and Squirmy"

30 day Exam 013adjusted(1)
A Red Panda cub born June 9 at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo made her media debut this week and was proclaimed “feisty, chubby, and squirmy” by her keepers.

30 day Exam 012adjusted(1)
30 day Exam 008adjusted(1)
30 day Exam 001adjusted(1)Photo Credit:  Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

Now 30 days old, the female cub passed a critical milestone.  “About half of all Red Panda cubs die within 30 days after birth,” says Animal Curator Mark Weldon.  “We are obviously pleased that our cub has made it this far.”  The cub has not yet been named.

Though the cub has survived the first 30 days, she still faces other hurdles. “Weaning is a critical time for Red Panda cubs as they make the transition from mother’s milk to solid food,” explained Zoo Keeper Helena Lacey.  Weaning occurs when the cub is five to six months old.

Five-year-old mother Xiao and her cub spend nearly all of their time in an air-conditioned nest box within the Red Panda exhibit, where Xiao nurses, grooms, and sleeps next to her cub.  This is natural behavior for Red Pandas, which nest in hollow trees in the wild.  Cubs typically remain in the nest box for about three months. 

Zoo keepers monitor the duo via a remote camera mounted in the nest box.  “They sleep most of the time, but we also see Xiao grooming herself and the cub,” said Lacey.  Xiao leaves the nest box several times a day to eat and climb in the exhibit while her cub remains in the nest box. 

Three to four times a week, zoo keepers distract Xiao with a tasty bamboo branch and quickly weigh the cub.  So far, the cub is gaining weight and has more than tripled her birth weight of 139 grams to 454 grams (about one pound).  Twice a week, the veterinary staff performs a brief exam on the cub, checking for any abnormalities.

The cub’s eyes are now open.  The baby squirms and squeals during her weigh-ins and checkups – signs of a strong and alert cub.  At this time, the zoo staff sees no need to intervene by hand-rearing the cub or offering supplemental feedings, though protocols are in place should the need arise.

The breeding of Red Pandas is overseen by the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).  The goal of the SSP is to maximize genetic diversity in zoo-dwelling populations of endangered and threatened animals. 

Red Pandas are native to the forested foothills of the Himalaya Mountains in China and Nepal, where they feed primarily on bamboo.  Though they share a name with the famed black-and-white giant pandas, the two are not closely related.  The name “panda” comes from the Nepalese word ponya, which means “bamboo-eater.” They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.