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It may be summer in the northern hemisphere, but in New Zealand, it’s almost winter – the perfect time for a pair of Red Panda cubs to debut at the Hamilton Zoo.

11203168_452227848288870_8546975382435637229_nPhoto Credit:  Hamilton Zoo

Born on January 22, the cubs – one male and one female – are thriving under the care of their mother, Tayla.  This is Tayla’s fourth litter.

Cubs typically remain in the nest box with their mother for several months before venturing out.  At about five to six months of age, Red Panda cubs begin weaning from mother’s milk to a diet of bamboo. 

Red Pandas have only one litter of cubs per year.  In fact, there is only a 24-hour window each year during which Red Pandas breed. This limited breeding cycle, coupled with habitat loss, contributes to Red Pandas’ decline in the wild.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists Red Pandas as Vulnerable in their native range of southwestern China, northern India, Tibet, Bhutan, Burma and Nepal.