The Milwaukee County Zoo announced the birth of a female Red Panda cub.
The new cub, named Kiki, was born June 7 to mother, Dr. Erin Curry, and father, Dash. This is the pair’s second cub; she is part of the Red Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP), which helps to maintain genetic diversity within Red Panda populations in AZA-accredited zoos. Dr. Erin is a very attentive mother, and Kiki is developing as expected.
Kiki weighed 160 grams two days after birth and, and at a little more than one month old, weighed approximately 906 grams. Her most recent reported weight was 1,192 grams at 46 days old.
Zookeepers comment that Kiki spends most of her time eating and sleeping, and that she’s “adorable.” She is currently developing off exhibit, but should be visible to guests at the Red Panda habitat sometime in September.
Blind for the first 21-to-31 days after birth, cubs are safely hidden in nests for the first 2 to 3 months. The Zoo’s new cub has relied on mom for milk, and will stay with her mother for about one year. Then, she’ll learn important life skills, such as hunting and climbing.
Dr. Erin and Dash had their first cub, Dr. Lily Parkinson, in June 2018. Dr. Lily was the first Red Panda cub born at the Zoo. She was transferred to the Nashville Zoo last spring as recommended by the Red Panda SSP.
Red Pandas are easily identifiable by their reddish-brown color, white face markings and speckling of black around their ears and legs. They begin to get adult coloration at around 50 days old, which acts as a camouflage in their natural surroundings.
In the wild, they live in the mountains of Nepal, northern Myanmar and central China. Red Pandas are considered endangered due to deforestation, poaching, and trapping. Reliable population numbers are difficult to find due to their secretive nature, but it is estimated that only around 10,000 individuals exist in the wild. Because of this low number, every birth is very important.