Right 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.
Photo 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.