Rare Subspecies of Red Panda Welcomed at NEW Zoo
July 30, 2011
A very rare and endangered Red Panda was born at the Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo on Jun 12. NEW Zoo collaborates with other AZA zoos and the Red Panda Species Survival Program to ensure the survival of this beautiful animal. Only 18 zoos exhibit this more rare subspecies of Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens refulgens) and there are only 57 individuals in the captive population. In order to keep the gene pool healthy, the AZA has a target population of 110 animals.
Reproduction can be quite difficult for this species. Fluctuations in weight affect fertility and males seem to experience "reproductive senescence" if they don't breed before they reach the age of 12. At 13, male Tae-bo is the oldest first time father on record! Leafa has proven to be a very capable mother. Although she is willing to allow her mate close to the infant male panda, she prefers that Zookeepers keep their distance. The baby is being raised on exhibit and is expected to emerge from the nest box between three and four months of age.