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Baby Red Panda Thriving at Binghamton Zoo

Red paw

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." 

Red weigh 2

Red keepers

Red body

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:

Red baby

Red weigh 1

Zhin-Li may not be viewable for several months, as he spends most of his time with his mother in one of two nesting boxes. He also has access to a room not visible by visitors to the zoo. A camera and monitor system has been set up to help zoo guests increase their chances of seeing the cub until he is big enough to go out on exhibit.