Reluctant Red Panda Gets the Perfect Name
November 06, 2015
Drusillas Park, in East Sussex UK, shared news of the birth of a Red Panda this summer. The female cub was born July 17th and is the third to be born at the zoo since 2013.
Mum has looked after the cub in the safety and privacy of their nest box. Although some have been lucky enough to see mum, Mulan, transporting her cub between nesting houses.
Photo Credits: Tammy Smith (Images 1,2,3) / Drusillas Park (4)
Head Keeper, Mark Kenward commented after the cub’s birth, “The Red Pandas have three separate nest boxes, and Mulan will move the baby from one to another, carrying her by the scruff of the neck, so she benefits from the most suitable environment.”
“Mulan is proving to be an excellent mother once again. For the first two days, she remained with her cub approximately 90% of the time. However, after a few days this dropped to around 60%, which is exactly what we would expect of this species.”
Drusillas Park has given the bashful new Red Panda a befitting name-- Shyla.
For the last four months Shyla has been hiding away within one of the group’s three nest boxes.
Visitors enjoy regular sightings of the panda puff as she pops her head out the hide away hole. However, despite multiple attempts by mum Mulan to encourage her out, the cozy cub cannot be tempted.
Zoo Manager, Sue Woodgate commented, “Shyla is yet to take those all-important first–steps exploring her enclosure, playing with her sister and meeting our visitors. We have no doubt she will appear in her own good time – her older sister Anmar also took a little while to venture out but you can’t stop her now. Fingers crossed Shyla will follow in her footsteps very soon; I am sure it will be worth the wait.”
The name Shyla was chosen from nearly 200 suggestions, made by followers, on the Drusillas Park Facebook page. Staff thought it a fitting moniker for the ‘peekaboo panda’.
As with the Giant Panda, female Red Pandas are only fertile for just one day a year and can delay implantation until conditions are favorable. They give birth to between one and four young at a time, and the cubs are born with pale fluffy fur, which darkens to the distinctive red coloration of the adults over the first three months.
In the wild, the Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) inhabits the Himalayan mountains of China, India and Nepal, where they are threatened by habitat destruction and hunting. They are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
This is the second time Drusillas Park has welcomed Red Panda babies since Mulan’s arrival in 2013. On June 16, 2015, she gave birth to mixed-sex twins, the first of this species to be born at the Zoo throughout their 90 year history.