Red Panda

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

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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.

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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.


Four Litters of Red Panda Cubs Born at SCBI


All four Red Panda pairs at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., successfully bred and had cubs this year. Of the 10 cubs, more born at SCBI than any other year, seven have survived.

The latest pair to have cubs was Shama and Rusty, who are best known to the public. Rusty gained national attention in June 2013 after he escaped from his enclosure on Asia Trail at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Shama, an experienced mother, gave birth to three cubs June 26. This is the first litter Rusty has sired. Keepers had been monitoring Shama closely the past few weeks since her behavior indicated she might be pregnant. Keepers are observing the cubs via a closed-circuit camera, and the cubs appear healthy.




Rusty and Shama’s three cubs join three other litters born within the past five weeks. Two cubs were born May 27 to female Yanhua and male Sherman. It was their first litter.

Two more cubs were born June 16 to female Regan and male Rocco. One cub was stillborn; the other is being hand-reared to increase chances of survival. The surviving cub is currently in critical condition and receiving round-the-clock care. Keepers took extra steps to prepare for the birth of Regan’s cubs. She has given birth before, but has neglected cubs in the past. As a result, keepers trained her to voluntarily participate in ultrasounds, and they moved her to the veterinary hospital before the birth and monitored her 24 hours a day when she began showing signs consistent with an impending birth. Regan is very genetically valuable to the red panda population in human care, and keepers took every precaution to increase the likelihood of a successful birth.

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Peek-a-boo At Hamilton Zoo With Two Red Panda Cubs


The birth of two rare Nepalese Red Pandas thrilled Hamilton Zoo keepers earlier this year and now that they’ve reached four months old, they are venturing out and exploring their enclosure.
“The pair and their mum are doing great,” says Hamilton Zoo Curator Samantha Kudeweh.
“Initially the cubs weren’t gaining as much weight as they should have so we started supplement feeding. That worked really well and now the pair are fit and healthy and enjoying hanging out with their extended family”.
Although it’s difficult to tell early on, Kudeweh said they are fairly confident the two cubs are both females.
“If this is the case, it means we have a nice mix with our juveniles, as the new cubs have three male siblings Karma, Nima and Dawa who were born last year.”






Red Pandas are found throughout the Himalayan ranges, in Western China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and India. They live in the same habitat as the Giant Panda and almost exclusively eat bamboo leaves and occasionally fruit, small animals, eggs and roots.
Classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union of Conservation of Nature, their population in the wild is thought to be less than 10,000 and decreasing. Deforestation and habitat fragmentation are the main threats to the survival of the species, and poaching for their beautiful fur is a major problem in China, where pelts have cultural significance.

Auckland Zoo Welcomes Red Panda Twins

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Auckland Zoo in New Zealand is celebrating the birth of Nepalese Red Panda twins, two very valuable additions to the international breeding program for this threatened species.

The two cubs were born on January 3, each weighing approximately 100 grams. They are the second and third offspring of four-year-old mum Bo and 13-year-old Sagar, who just over a year ago produced their first-born, male Pabu. Sagar, who was relocated from India's Darjeeling Zoo in 2010, contributes a particularly valuable new bloodline into the Australasian region.

"These births are fantastic news, both for Australasia and for the wider Global Species Management Plan through which Red Panda are managed. We're absolutely delighted Bo has had two healthy cubs and that she's proving once again to be such a confident and attentive mother," says acting Carnivore Team Leader Lauren Booth.

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Photo credits: Auckland Zoo

See video:

"Following Pabu's birth, we've learnt to read Bo's behavior well so we can gauge the best time to check on and weigh the cubs to track their progress, but otherwise remain hands-off. They have now opened their eyes and are moving about in the nest box a little more, and will sometimes 'huff' at us. Their weights have shot up to 403 grams and 423 grams respectively - above average, so we know they're getting plenty to eat, but they still have a lot more growing to do!"

Booth says like one-year-old Pabu, who will relocate to another zoo in Australia within the next six months, the yet-to-be named and sexed cubs will also in time leave Auckland Zoo to contribute to the international breeding program.

"As zoos we work together to ensure genetic diversity is achieved for insurance populations like the Red Panda - which is vital, but it is an insurance policy, not a solution. Increasingly, we're part of conservation efforts in the wild. Auckland Zoo continues to grow its support of Red Panda Network, whose outstanding community education and forest guardianship programs in eastern Nepal (key Red Panda territory) are playing a vital role in helping protect this species that's threatened by habitat loss and poaching."

 See and learn more after the fold!

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Help Name Dublin Zoo's Red Panda Twins!

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Dublin Zoo's twin Red Panda cubs, born on July 14, are just starting to venture outside of their den at thee months old. The thriving cubs have a very strong bond with their parents, Angelina and Chota. The twins, one male and one female, weighed approximately .3 pounds (150 grams) at birth, but are growing steadily.

Team Leader Eddie O’Brien says, “Red pandas are endangered in the wild so we are over the moon that this is the third litter born to Angelina and Chota. The cubs are both doing very well and getting more adventurous and confident.”

Dublin Zoo is hosting a naming contest for the pair on their FaceBook page. They are looking for names that celebrate the Red Panda's Asian origin. To submit your ideas, just post a comment here

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6 red pandaPhoto credits: Patrick Bolger / Dublin Zoo

Red Pandas are not closely related to Giant Pandas; rather, they belong in their own unique group that is more closely related to weasels. They are native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. Fully grown, they are slightly larger than domestic cats. Red Pandas spend most of their time in trees, eating a variety of fruits, leaves and eggs. Their long bushy tails are excellent for balance, and also serve as a cozy wrap-around scarf for the Red Panda in cold weather. They also have fur on the soles of their feet to prevent them from slipping on wet branches. 

Although protected throughout most of their range, Red Pandas are threatened by poaching and habitat loss. They have been classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Species; it is estimated that there are fewer than 10,000 adult Red Pandas.

Meet Lincoln, the Red Panda Cub

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A rare Red Panda cub was born in July at Lincoln Children's Zoo in Nebraska. Baby Lincoln, as zookeepers are calling him, is currently being hand-raised because his mother is unable to care for him. He is one of only four Red Panda cubs in the country being hand-raised. Lincoln spends his days in an incubator with around-the-clock care, and is growing stronger and healthier every day. Like his older brothers, Rusty and Wayne, he will eventually move to another zoo. Zookeepers named him Lincoln to represent the city of Lincoln and state of Nebraska when he moves to a new home in the future. 

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See a video of the cub in his nursery:


See and read more after the fold.

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UPDATE! Hand-raised Red Panda Cub Thrives at Sacramento Zoo

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Sacramento Zoo's Red Panda cub is making good progress! The cub, a male born on June 9th, weighs about one and a half pounds (685 grams), and eats about twenty percent of his body weight every day over the course of four feedings. Zoo staff decided to hand-raise the cub at two weeks-old because his mom did not seem to be producing enough milk. (You can read our first story about the cub here.) So far, the effort has been a success: he is exactly where he should be developmentally for his age, slowly gaining coordination and testing out his climbing abilities on veterinarians. His ears have perked up too!

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Photo credits: Mike Owyang / Sacramento Zoo

Watch a video of the cub below: 


See more photos after the fold! 

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UPDATE: Sacramento Zoo's Red Panda Is Thriving!


A baby Red Panda born on June 9 at the Sacramento Zoo is thriving under the constant care of his zoo keepers. 

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Photo Credit:  Mike Owyang


The cub, a male, was the first offspring for the zoo's Red Panda pair. When the cub was about two and a half weeks old, the zoo staff observed that the female may not have been providing enough milk for her cub, so they decided to hand-rear the cub, as described here on ZooBorns.

The cub is a voracious eater, consuming about 20% of his body weight every day in four bottle feedings.  Keepers report that he is on track developmentally for his age, and practices his climbing skills on the veterinarians! 

Zoo guests can see the cub being fed twice a day through the window of the zoo's Veterinary Hospital.

Red Pandas are under threat in their native range in the mountains of Nepal and China due to habitat loss.  The name "panda" is derived from a Nepalese word meaning "bamboo eater."

See more photos of the Red Panda cub below the fold.

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Baby Red Panda Thriving at Binghamton Zoo

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New York's Binghamton Zoo excitedly announced the birth of a male Red Panda, the first of its species to be born there. The cub, named Zhin-Li (meaning "treasure"), is steadily gaining weight and showing all signs of thriving. It is the first offspring of mother Mei-Li and father Xiao-Li, paired together as part of the Red Panda Species Survival Plan.

"The simple chore of properly socializing them to allow coexistence within the exhibit was a major accomplishment," said David Orndorff, the Binghamton Zoo's Animal Curator. "Add to that that this is the first birth by this female and with a male that has never fathered cubs in the past, shows the dedication and commitment of the Binghamton Zoo's animal care staff." 

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Photo Credit:  Melissa Grippin, Binghamton Zoo 

The Species Survival Plan was created by AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) to ensure the long-term survival of captive species. This baby  will continue in this program and when of age, will be paired with a female to breed at another zoo. The cub represents a "treasure" for the Binghamton Zoo, and also for the whole conservation community. There are roughly 175 Red Pandas located in zoos throughout the United States and Canada, but only about 60 individuals fall under the subspecies Ailurus fulgens refulgens (styani). These Red Pandas are distributed among 23 institutions, including the Binghamton Zoo. 

This story continues, with more pictures of the cub, after the fold:

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A Whole Lotta Nappin' Goin' On -- Red Panda Cub Grows at Zoo Boise

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There's a new Red Panda cub at Zoo Boise. This little male was born on June 15 to first-time parents Dolly and Winston. He has spent all his time in an off-exhibit den with his mother, who has done an excellent job of caring for him. He snoozes a lot, like most newborns do, while he develops more each day. He will grow to be the size of a house cat, though his tail will become big and bushy and add up to an additional 18 inches (46 cm) in length to his body. 

Soon he will make his way out to explore the exhibit for short stints, when visitors can hope to catch a glimpse of him. He is the third Red Panda to be born at the zoo, and the newest addition to the zoo's most "reproductive" year ever. Red Pandas live in the mountains of Nepal and northern Myanmar (Burma), as well as in central China. They forage most actively at dusk and in the evening, and spend most of their time in the trees, even when they nap. 

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Cub Monte Stiles

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Photo Credit: Photos 1, 2, 4,5 : Zoo Boise, Photo 3,6: Monte Stiles

Parents Dolly and Winston are part of the Red Panda Species Survival Program, a breeding program for certain Endangered or Threatened species that helps maintain a genetically diverse, strong animal population within zoos. 

See more pictures after the fold:

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