Red Panda

Tiny Red Panda Cubs Are Big News

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The Birmingham Zoo in Alabama is now home to the first Red Panda cubs born in the US this year. Born May 30, the two cubs currently are off-exhibit with mom. This is the first litter for the mother, three-year-old Sorrel and father, four-year-old Shifu. This was a significant birth as Red Pandas are a threatened species with fewer than 2,500 adults left in the world, according to The Birmingham Zoo. 

Sorrel is very protective of the cubs and is nursing regularly. This is very encouraging and staff are working hard to ensure that Sorrel has everything she needs to care for her new family. When born in human care, Red Panda cubs have a 50 percent mortality rate (the mortality rate in the wild is unknown), so it is wonderful news that the first-time mom is caring for her cubs so well.

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Photo Credit: Birmingham Zoo

Red Pandas are quite delicate at birth and stay close to their mothers until they are around three months old. As long as things continue to go well, visitors can expect to see the cubs in the fall when they start to venture away from the den. For now, there is a live monitor of the pandas at the zoo's Red Panda exhibit.

The breeding that led to this birth is part of the American Zoological Association’s Species Survival Plan, a nationally-coordinated effort to save threatened and endangered animals from extinction. In the wild, Red Pandas live in the bamboo forests of China, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, and Nepal. While they share some habitat with the Giant Panda, the two species are not related. Red Pandas are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Vulnerable, a ranking one step down from Endangered. According to the IUCN, deforestation is the greatest threat to this species. 


UPDATE! Auckland Zoo's Baby Red Panda Gets a Name

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You may have first read about this baby Red Panda from Auckland Zoo HERE on ZooBorns. As a result of a vet check, it was determined that they had a little boy! Born on Christmas Eve, he is the first offspring of three-year-old mom Bo and 12-year-old dad Sagar. He has been healthy and growing at a normal rate. 

The Zoo just wrapped up a naming contest for the cub through Facebook, and the results are in: By an overwhelming majority, the public voted for the name Pabu, which means puff-ball of fluffy.  The other choices had been Nepalese words, since the Red Panda is found in the wild in Nepal. They were: Sundar (meaning beautiful/good.joy), Bhushan (adornment), HImal (snow mountain), and Mohan (charming). 

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Photo Credit: Auckland Zoo

The IUCN Red List classifies this animal as Vulnerable. It is threatened by illegal hunting and deforestation. Remaining populations are fast becoming fragmented and isolated from each other. It is uncertain how many remain in the wild today, but estimates suggest it may be as low 2500 individuals. There are close to 500 individuals in zoos worldwide.


Rare Red Panda Triplets Born at Hamilton Zoo

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The Hamilton Zoo in New Zealand recently announced the birth of three rare Red Panda cubs. The cubs, all male, were born on December 20th. They joined their mother Tayla, father Chito, and older brother Ketu at the zoo, doubling the zoo's Red Panda population.

Now, at eight weeks old, the cubs are continuing to grow and thrive off exhibit in their mother's den. "Red panda cubs are slow to develop so the first months are really crucial,'' explained zoo Curator Sam Kudeweh. ''We have been undertaking regular weigh ins with the cubs so that we can keep an eye on their progress - but need to balance this with hands off approach as much as possible so we can leave mum Tayla to look after her cubs," she continued. At the first weighing, when the cubs were 19 days old, they tipped the scales at 225 grams. They have continuined to grow and have now ballooned up to 400 grams, about the weight of a can of beans.

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Photo Credit: Hamilton Zoo

 

Red Pandas, despite their name, are more closely related to raccoons, skunks and weasels than Giant Pandas. Native to the Eastern Himalayans and Southwestern China, the Red Panda feeds primarily on bamboo. However, they are omnivorous and will eat insects, birds and eggs to supplement their bamboo diet.

See more videos and learn more after the fold.

Continue reading "Rare Red Panda Triplets Born at Hamilton Zoo" »


Sleepy Red Panda Baby a Welcomed Addition to Auckland Zoo

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Keepers at the Auckland Zoo say the birth of a rare Nepalese Red Panda baby in the early hours of December 24 was the best Christmas present they could have received. It is the first to be born at the zoo since 2002, weighing in at just 105 grams (equal to a medium sized tomato). Now, at four weeks old, the little one is estimated to have grown to 240 grams, a little over half a pound.

The cub, the first offspring of three-year-old mom Bo and 12-year-old dad Sagar, is an extremely valuable addition to the international breeding program for this species. The IUCN Red List classifies this animal as Vulnerable. It is threatened by illegal hunting and deforestation. Remaining populations are fast becoming fragmented and isolated from each other. It is uncertain how many remain in the wild today, but estimates suggest it may be as low 2500 individuals. There are close to 500 individuals in zoos worldwide.

“This birth is a fantastic result, especially as Bo was only introduced to Sagar last August, given that female Red Pandas come into season just twice a year and a male has only a one to two-day window to mate a female,” said Carnivore Team Leader Bruce Murdock. “We couldn’t ask for a better mum in Bo. She’s doing an exceptional job, staying in the nest box for long periods and feeding her cub up to six times a day, and being very attentive.” 

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Photo Credit: Auckland Zoo

Dad has been to the nest box to check out his offspring, but leaves the parenting to Bo. Murdock added, “We’re keeping a regular watch on this cub, but taking a very hands-off approach so Bo can continue to do the great job she’s been doing.”

Murdock says Red Pandas develop slowly and are dependent for at least three months, so it could be another eight to 10 weeks before visitors see the cub venturing out and around the enclosure with Bo. A full vet check will be done in late February, and at that time its gender will be confirmed.

All that nursing and growing causes cub-naps, as seen in the video below:

   

Read more about Red Panda conservation after the fold: 

Continue reading "Sleepy Red Panda Baby a Welcomed Addition to Auckland Zoo" »


Rare Panda Cubs Emerge From Their Den For The First Time

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After three months secluded in their nest-box, two rare Red Panda cubs have finally emerged from the den, much to the delight of Cotswold Wildlife Park keepers and visitors alike. These striking twins are the first Red Pandas to be born at the Park in ten years. The as yet unnamed cubs were born to first-time parents, Doodoo and Scarlet, on 24th June 2012. The births came as quite a surprise to keepers, unaware that Scarlet was even pregnant! Red Pandas only have a small window of opportunity for breeding every couple of years when the female is receptive. Being incredibly shy and secretive animals, keepers did not observe any mating between the adult Pandas and Scarlet’s thick fur hid any tale-tale signs that she was about to give birth.

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Photo credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park

 

Curator Jamie Craig said: “The Park has had an excellent record of breeding this species in the past and it says something about our history with Red Pandas that the breeding male we have now is the grandson of one of our original animals. Our new pair look set to be every bit as successful as previous Pandas at the Park and will play an important role in the breeding programme.”

The Red Panda is classed as 'vulnerable' by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which means it is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. They have also been classified as the 19th most globally threatened species by the Edge Of Existence Programme, so these new arrivals are of great significance to the collection. Tragically, due to habitat loss and fur hunting, it is believed that less than 2,500 Red Pandas remain in the wild. Cotswold Wildlife Park is committed to a European Breeding Programme to protect this gentle species.


Dudley Zoo introduces Jasper the Red Panda

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Although he was born in June, Dudley Zoo keepers got their first close-up look at their baby Red Panda during its first check up last week. 

The baby, a male, tried to hide behind a tree when keepers came to retrieve him, but he was ultimately caught, sexed, and microchipped.  After they knew the baby’s gender, keepers named him Jasper.

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Jasper is the third Red Panda to be born to female Yasmin and her mate, Yang.

Red Pandas typically remain in the nest box for the first few months of life.  Dudley Zoo keepers allowed mother and baby complete privacy during this important bonding time.

Now that Jasper has emerged from the nest, he’s showing his playful side:  He peeks out of his nest box and quickly ducks back inside when someone spots him. 

Red pandas are endangered in their native Tibetan range.  In zoos, they are cooperatively managed to maintain a strong genetic diversity within the population.

Photo Credit:  Dudley Zoo


Rare Red Panda Twins Take First Peek Outside

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The Zoological Society of London’s Whipsnade Zoo is getting a glimpse of their Red Panda twins for the first time since they were born in June. The girls, named Yin and Yang, have stayed close to first-time mom, Tashi, for the last few months, and are only now beginning to take tentative steps to explore their surroundings.

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Photo Credits: Photos 1,3: Richard Claypole, Photo 2: A. Harris

Keepers have spotted the cute cubs peeping their heads out of their nest box, and say the duo are already starting to live up to their names.

Senior keeper Tessa Knox said, “Yin is more sedate while Yang seems to be quite feisty, mirroring the philosophies behind their names – opposite yet complementary forces.

“Both are doing really well and are beginning to get more adventurous and confident, though they will continue to stick close to mum for a little while longer yet.” 

The twins live with Tashi and dad, Peter, in a tree in the middle of the Zoo. The family eat a special high fiber, leaf eater diet - their favorite food is bamboo but they also enjoy bananas and grapes. 

The Red Panda is listed on the IUCN Red List as "Vulnerable" and is thought to be under threat because of habitat loss in their native Nepal, with an estimated population of less than 10,000.  The twins at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are an important addition to the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).


Meet KayDee, the Oklahoma Zoo's Rambunctious Baby Red Panda

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On June 6, Oklahoma City Zoo staffers quietly witnessed the eleventh Red Panda birth in the zoo’s history - a female. This is the first baby for Mom Jaya, who came to the zoo at the end of 2011, but the ninth cub for Yoda, the father. The newborn was named KayDee in honor of Oklahoma City Thunder player Kevin Durant -- known to fans as K.D. -- whose team won it’s first Western Conference championship on that very same night.

“We’ve been eager to introduce KayDee to the public since June,” said Newton “but she needed time to bond with her mother and grow a little before we did.”

After a four-and-a-half month gestation period, KayDee was born weighing less than a pound (.45 kg). First-time mom Jaya cared for her well, and now, at three months old, she weighs approximately 4 pounds (1.8 kg). KayDee is transitioning from nursing to eating solid foods; she's begun chewing bamboo just like her parents and shortly she’ll be able to eat high-fiber, nutritional biscuits, apples, pears, grapes and various enrichment foods. And she is rambunctious - bouncing around and snorting as baby pandas are wont to do! 

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Photo Credits: Oklahoma City Zoo

Read more about this little Red Panda after the fold:

Continue reading "Meet KayDee, the Oklahoma Zoo's Rambunctious Baby Red Panda" »


Now a Red Panda Duo at Memphis Zoo

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The Memphis Zoo now has two baby Red Pandas! Meet Lucille (on the right), the newest cub, who was born at the Bronx Zoo at the end of June and transferred to the Memphis Zoo earlier this month as part of a SSP recommendation. She joins Justin, the Red Panda cub born just ten days after her, at the Memphis Zoo itself. You can read all about Justin here in our September 1 article. Now they have each other with which to play and grow, and that means double the fun for zoo guests!

Red Pandas, once thought to be related to Giant Pandas, are actually related to raccoons. These nocturnal animals are tree dwellers, and have a large, bushy tail to help balance them while climbing high in the trees. Generally found in the Himalayas, their range overlaps some with that of Giant Pandas.    

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Photo Credit: Memphis Zoo