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August 2018

Binghamton Zoo Announces Red Panda Birth


The Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park is proud to announce that a Red Panda cub was born on July 7th to parents, Mei-Li and Ferguson.

According to the Zoo, the cub has been with Mei-Li since birth and is growing, as expected, currently weighing in at 387 grams.

This is another impressive accomplishment for the Binghamton Zoo and the Red Panda Species Survival Plan, a program to manage a genetically healthy population of Red Pandas in North American zoos. ​The facility is currently active in ​23 Species Survival Programs.

In the coming weeks, the Zoo will announce a formal cub introduction and a community naming contest. Dates and times will be shared on their social media when they are determined.

Keepers want to make note that the cub may not be visible for several weeks until it is big enough to climb out of the nest box. Fans can follow the growth of the Red Panda cub at the Binghamton Zoo here:



2018_animal_red_panda_cub3Photo Credits: Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park

The Red Panda is listed as “Endangered” by the IUCN. Their population has declined by 50% over the past 20 years. This decline is primarily due to deforestation, which eliminates Red Pandas’ nesting sites and sources of food. Through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Binghamton Zoo participates in several Species Survival Plans (SSP), ensuring the long-term health and survival of captive species, including the Red Panda.

Red Pandas can be found in the Himalayan Mountains: in parts of Burma, Nepal, India, and China.

Contrary to popular belief, Red Pandas are not related to the Giant Panda but are closely related to the raccoon family.

Red Pandas spend most of their days sleeping in trees and are most active at nighttime. They are herbivores, eating berries, leaves, grains, nuts, fruits, flowers, and bird eggs. Litter sizes range from one to four young. The young remain nest-bound for about 90 days after birth and reach their adult size at about 12 months. The maximum lifespan for Red Pandas is 14 years.

Prodigious Pigeon Hatches at Chester Zoo

1_Victoria crowned pigeon chick on the nest with mum just days after hatching at Chester Zoo (8)

The world’s largest member of the pigeon family, a Victoria Crowned Pigeon, recently hatched at Chester Zoo.

2_Victoria crowned pigeon chick on the nest with mum just days after hatching at Chester Zoo (11)

3_Victoria crowned pigeon chick on the nest with mum just days after hatching at Chester Zoo (6)

4_Victoria crowned pigeon chick on the nest with mum just days after hatching at Chester Zoo (13)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

According to the Zoo, the newly fledged little bird is now bright blue, rocks the best mowhawk, and can be seen strutting its stuff! When fully grown, the chick will be similar in size to a turkey.

Native to Indonesia and New Guinea, the Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria) is supposedly named after Queen Victoria who had a penchant for wearing elaborate, feathered headwear.

One of the closest living relatives of the now extinct Dodo, the Victoria Crowned Pigeon is itself declining in the wild, largely due to habitat loss as its forest home is cleared to make way for unsustainable palm oil plantations. It is also a bird that is prized by hunters and popular in the illegal pet trade, due to its beautiful appearance and spectacular plumage. As a result, it is a species listed as “Vulnerable” to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  

Mark Vercoe, Assistant Curator of Birds, said, “Along with the Nicobar Pigeon and the Tooth-billed Pigeon, the Victoria Crowned Pigeon is a descendant of the Dodo – a bird that has been famously lost from the planet because of the actions of humans.”

“This is something we don’t want to see a repeat of and it’s a lesson we really should learn from. Sadly, however, many bird species, including the likes of the Victoria Crowned Pigeon, are in trouble for many of the same reasons – human activity. Hopefully this chick can help us to highlight how important it is that we act for wildlife now; we cannot possibly let these beautiful birds go the same way as their extinct cousins.”

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