On August 12, 2017, Lee Richardson Zoo happily announced the birth of Red Panda cubs. The Zoo is now excited to announce that the cub’s seven-year-old mom, Ember, is allowing her little ones to venture outside of their den, where visitors can catch a glimpse of their antics.
Since their birth in late summer, the little family has been tucked away spending the necessary time to bond. Ember has been taking great care of her cubs, and they are now ready to pursue more milestones.
Charlie, the four-year-old father of the cubs, arrived at Lee Richardson Zoo in 2014. According to staff, he and Ember hit it off “almost from the first glance”. Staff attests to their solid relationship by saying that Charlie is at his most relaxed when Ember is near.
However, at this point in their lives, the cubs are Ember’s primary focus. Dad currently doesn’t have full contact with Ember or the cubs. Keepers say that will come a bit later. In the meantime, Charlie has access inside on warm days but can be seen by visitors venturing outside for a stroll.
Red Pandas (Ailurus fulgens) are native to Asia and are most commonly found in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar and China. As their name suggests, the animals are red and have off-white markings, large puffy tails and pointed ears. Red Pandas, like Giant Pandas, have very specialized diet requirements and eat a large amount of bamboo daily.
Superb climbers, Red Pandas can descend trees head first like a squirrel thanks to a special rotating ankle joint.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies Red Pandas as “Endangered”. According to the IUCN, their biggest threats come from habitat loss and fragmentation, habitat degradation and physical threats. There has also been an increase in poaching and trafficking for the pet trade.
Red Pandas are part of the Global Species Management Plan (GSMP) in zoos around the world. GSMP is allied with field conservation efforts for animals around the world.
To learn more about how to help Red Pandas, visit: https://redpandanetwork.org/