Red Panda

Visitors See ‘Bert and Ernie’ at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

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ZSL Whipsnade Zoo recently released the first photos of their new twin Red Panda cubs. The duo, named Bert and Ernie by their keepers, was born June 30.

The cubs had been hiding away in their nesting boxes until recently, when their mum, six year-old Tashi, began carrying them outside for short intervals.

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Photo Credits: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Senior Keeper at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Stephen Perry said, “It’s been magical to see the baby Red Pandas out and about for the first time.

“Red Pandas can be difficult to observe due to their shy and secretive nature, their nocturnal habits and the fact that they spend most of their time up trees. We never see much of their babies for the first couple of months of their lives but it’s worth the wait. They’re incredible and beautiful creatures, and a real visitor favorite.

“Tashi is a brilliant mum, and when the weather gets warmer you sometimes catch her carrying the babies between nesting boxes to find the coolest one for them.”

Bert and Ernie are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), a tool used by zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks across Europe to manage conservation breeding programmes. Bert and Ernie are also the fourth and fifth cubs born to experienced mum Tashi, at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

“Having such a confident mum there is great because it means we can just leave them to it and not interfere. We just check in on Tashi, the boys and their dad, Blue, once a day to make sure everything’s okay,” remarked Perry.

Red Pandas, which are classified as “Vulnerable” by IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species, are found mainly in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar, and southern China. There are thought to be around 10,000 Red Pandas left in the wild. It is estimated that their numbers may have decreased by as much as 40% over the last 50 years due to massive habitat loss, increased human activity and poaching.

As an international conservation and science charity, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) works in Nepal, as well as over 50 other countries, for worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats, through ground-breaking science, conservation projects, as well as two Zoos: ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Detroit Zoo Offers ‘Tofu’ to Lucky Visitors

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Visitors to the Detroit Zoo were recently treated to their first look at a female Red Panda cub. The new cub, born June 22, has been named Tofu and is the offspring of 10-year-old mother, Ta-Shi, and 6-year-old father, Shifu. 

“Ta-Shi took her time bringing her adorable baby girl out into public view, but it was worth the wait,” said Scott Carter, Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) chief life sciences officer. “We’re happy to welcome Tofu to the Detroit Zoo and to contribute to the captive population of this threatened species.” 

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4_Tofu 2 - Roy LewisPhoto Credits: Roy Lewis/DZS (Images 1-5); Patti Truesdell/DZS (Image 6)

Found in the mountainous regions of Nepal, Myanmar and central China, Red Pandas are classified as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, due to deforestation. 

The Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a shy and solitary animal, except when mating. It is about the size of a house cat, with rust-colored fur and an 18-inch white-ringed tail. Red Pandas are skilled and agile climbers, spending most of their time hanging from tree branches or lounging on limbs. 

The Detroit Zoological Society conducts fieldwork in Nepal to study and conserve Red Pandas in the wild. Part of this work requires the use of trail cameras triggered by motion and heat to take pictures and remotely monitor populations of Red Pandas and other species. 

The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS)– a nonprofit organization that operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo – is recognized as a leader in conservation, animal welfare and sustainability as well as providing sanctuary for animals in need of rescue.

The Detroit Zoo, in Royal Oak, is 125 acres of award-winning naturalistic habitats and home to 2,500 animals representing 270 species. The Belle Isle Nature Zoo sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle State Park in Detroit and provides year-round educational, recreational and environmental conservation opportunities for the community. For hours, prices, directions, visit:

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Red Panda Duo Debuts at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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The Rosamond Gifford Zoo, in Syracuse, New York, is pleased to announce the birth of two Red Pandas. The male cubs, named Pumori and Rohan, were born on June 25. The zoo estimates that the cubs weighed around two to three ounces at birth, as staff was hands-off for the first 10 days of life. Rohan currently weighs a little over one pound and Pumori a little under.

Their mother, Tabei, is a two-year-old first-time mom. Their father, Ketu, is a four-year-old first-time dad. He came to Syracuse from Hamilton Zoo, in New Zealand, and is valuable to the genetic pool of the North American Red Panda population. 

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4_RGZ red panda 5_Pumori_MariaSimmonsPhoto Credits: Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Like his father Ketu, little Pumori is named after a Himalayan mountain. Rohan means  “ascend” in Sanskrit. Their mother, Tabei, is named after Junko Tabei, the first woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.

“It is always exciting to have new babies at our zoo. These Red Panda cubs are important to the North American population and a testament to the hard work of our zoo staff. I commend the dedicated keepers and veterinarians for their continued success,” said County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney.

“We are very proud of our Red Panda parents, Tabei and Ketu, and the work of our animal staff. We continue to have a successful Red Panda breeding program here at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as part of the Species Survival Plan. The births of Pumori and Rohan will help ensure the survival of this endangered species,” says Zoo Director Ted Fox.

Red Pandas are born blind. Their mother cares for them for the first two to three months of life, until they are weaned. They typically open their eyes around two to three weeks of age. Pumori and Rohan are currently being weaned and will be on exhibit during the day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. inside the zoo’s former birthday party room, located near the Jungle Café seating area. (Schedule subject to change.)

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It's International Red Panda Day!

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September 19th is International Red Panda Day— let's welcome the first ever Red Panda to be born at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall! The tiny cub is just over seven weeks old, born to Germaine and Sandy, who have lived at the zoo for several years. 

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Photo credits: Newquay Zoo

Red Pandas are typically solitary creatures, but young Red Pandas spend over a year with their mother, growing slowly and learning how to forage. Mothers build a nest in a tree hollow or rocky crevice and have litters of one to four cubs. The tiny cubs are born deaf and blind and grow slowly. They open their eyes at about 18 days old, and have their red adult fur by about 90 days old.

Red Pandas live only in the foothills of the Himalayas from western Nepal to northern Myanmar, where they can find their main food source: bamboo. With an estimated wild population of around 10,000 individuals, they are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Their main threats are habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and poaching in some areas. 

Lincoln Park Zoo’s Red Panda Cubs Surpass Milestones


The Red Panda cubs at Lincoln Park Zoo are one step closer to leaving their den. The two-month-old “Rookie Chicago Cubs”, Clark (male) and Addison (female), born June 26, were featured on ZooBorns back in early August.



4_3Photo Credits: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park ZooThey recently had their second physical, and since their initial exam on July 10, Clark’s weight has doubled and Addison has roughly tripled in weight. Both cubs have surpassed milestones such as nursing, opening their eyes, and they have begun changing from their pale yellow fur into the iconic auburn coloration of the Red Panda.

“The Red Panda cubs continue to be healthy and curious of their surroundings. The cubs are often seen trying to explore outside of the den before quickly being scooped up by their mother Leafa,” said Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “With this behavior, we anticipate the cubs will be ready to make their public debut within the next several weeks.”

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Red Panda Cub Born at Longleat Safari Park

1_Red Panda Baby at Longleat PIC Ian Turner

A rare Red Panda cub has been born at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park, in the UK, after keepers launched an international “lonely-hearts ad” to find a mate for the cub's father. It’s the first time the famous Wiltshire safari park has successfully bred Red Pandas, and keepers are delighted with how well the cub, which has yet to be named, is doing.

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4_Red panda mum and dad at Longleat PIC Ian TurnerPhoto Credits: Ian Turner / Longleat Safari & Adventure Park

Dad Ajenda, which means ‘King of the Mountain’, came to Longleat from Germany in 2012, and mum Rufina, meaning ‘red-haired’, arrived from Italy just over a year later, following an appeal by keepers. The birth is particularly welcome as this particular pairing is deemed to be critical to the ongoing success of European Endangered Species Programme for the Red Panda.

Like their famous, but unrelated, namesakes the Giant Pandas, Red Pandas are increasingly endangered in the wild. The species was officially designated as ‘Vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2008 when the global population was estimated at about 10,000 individuals. A ‘Vulnerable’ species is one which has been categorized as likely to become ‘Endangered’ unless the circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve.

“We’re delighted with how well Rufina is looking after the young cub, and both mother and baby are doing brilliantly,” said keeper Robert Curtis.

“Cubs don’t tend to start venturing out on their own for the first three months, and Rufina, like all Red Panda mums, regularly moves the cub to different nesting areas. This is perfectly natural behavior but makes keeping track of the baby...somewhat problematic for us!” Curtis added.

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Red Panda Cubs Are A Perfect Pair

11011769_10153083270748137_3177621361468527736_oTwo Red Panda cubs were born this spring at Austria’s Zoo Salzberg, the first birth of this species at the zoo in more than 13 years. 

11791953_10153083270768137_1156151738392090804_oPhoto Credit:  Zoo Salzberg

The cubs were born to parents Banja and Eros, but are now being hand-reared by the staff after the loss of female Banja in July.

Under the care of zoo keepers, the cubs are developing well and now have their eyes open and weigh about one pound each. 

Red Panda cubs typically emerge from the nest box at 12 weeks old, and are weaned at around five to six months of age. 

Native to mountain forests in China, Nepal, and Myanmar, Red Pandas are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Loss of habitat, caused by a near doubling of the human population in the region in the past 30-40 years, is the primary threat to the species.  As their forest habitat is broken into smaller and smaller chunks, the risk of inbreeding within smaller populations increases. 

These two cubs will be an important part of the worldwide effort to maintain a genetically diverse Red Panda population within zoos.



Zoo Liberec Celebrates First Red Panda Cubs


For the first time in Zoo Liberec’s history, they have succeeded in breeding Red Pandas! A pair of young pandas was born, on June 28, at the Czech Republic zoo.

The brother and sister are the offspring of mom, Lotus, who arrived at Liberec from the French Zoo de Bordeaux-Pessac. The father is Kamala, who came from Paradise Park in Cornwall, UK. 


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The twins are yet-to-be-named, but zoo staff are intent on them having Asian inspired monikers. The Zoo anticipates them being on public display by September when they will be old enough to begin exploring on their own. They are currently safely tucked away under their mom’s care and supervision.

Red Pandas are native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. They are slightly larger than a domestic cat. They are omnivorous, feeding mainly on bamboo, but they are also known to eat eggs, birds, insects, and small mammals. They are solitary and are mainly active from dusk till dawn.

The Red Panda is the only living species of the genus Ailurus and the family Ailuridae. It had been previously placed in the raccoon and bear families, but results of phylogenetic research indicate strong support for its taxonomic classification in its own family Ailuridae, which along with the weasel, raccoon and skunk families, is part of the superfamily Musteloidea. The Red Panda is not closely related to the Giant Panda.

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Meet the New Rookie Chicago Cubs


Kovler Lion House, at Lincoln Park Zoo, is home to an important pair of siblings. Born June 26, the Red Panda cubs are the first of their kind born at Lincoln Park Zoo. The male and female are the offspring of first-time dad, Phoenix, and experienced mom, Leafa. 

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4_Red panda cub exam (1)Photo Credits: Lincoln Park Zoo

The endangered duo currently isn’t visible to the public, nor will they be for some time. Instead, they’re cuddled up in a behind-the-scenes den with mom Leafa, as is typical for the species. They can remain in this cozy space for up to three months, with mom periodically leaving to feed or tend to other needs.

Thanks to a special camera in the den, though, staff can keep an eye on the tiny new arrivals. Red Panda cubs weigh 4-5 ounces at birth and are fully furred, although their coat is yellow as opposed to the bright red of adults. The little ones’ eyes are closed for the first 18 days of life, meaning they’re totally dependent on mom in the crucial early weeks.

The tiny Red Pandas were recently given names in honor of their hometown, Chicago. Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise, is located at the iconic intersection of the streets Clark and Addison. It seemed fitting to name Chicago's other cubs (Red Panda- that is) in honor of the legendary American team. Lincoln Park Zoo's new male cub has been named Clark, and his sister is now known as Addison.

Sharon Zackfia, a committed supporter of Chicago’s free zoo, selected the city-centric names. “As a longtime lover of Red Pandas, I could not be more excited to have the honor of naming Lincoln Park Zoo’s first-ever Red Panda cubs,” she notes. “I am so proud to be a supporter of an institution that has brought so much joy and knowledge to the families of Chicago.”

The cubs themselves continue to do well in their behind-the-scenes den. Curator of Mammals, Mark Kamhout, reports that Clark and Addison are receiving great care from mom Leafa and continuing to hit new milestones. “Their eyes are open now, which is a big development for Red Panda cubs, and it looks like they’ve doubled in size since their physical last week.”

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The Power of Fluff: Twin Red Pandas Born at Zoo Boise

11745632_10153411505368116_7851586432407812940_nTwin Red Panda cubs born on June 18 at Zoo Boise made their media debut last week.  The cubs, a male and a female, are the fifth litter born to parents Dolly and Winston.10403119_10153411505353116_818709926087821928_n

11737847_10153411505358116_4137842135416914762_nPhoto Credit:  Zoo Boise

Just five weeks old, the cubs still spend most of their time in the den with Dolly, but will soon being to emerge for short periods of time.  The cubs have not yet been named.

Native to the eastern Himalaya mountains, Red Pandas live in forested foothills at relatively high elevations.  They feed primarily on bamboo, but also eat berries, flowers, roots, mushrooms, eggs, and small birds.   

Red Pandas typically breed only once per year, usually in January or February, and cubs are born in June or July.  The cubs remain with their mother in a hollow tree for several months before emerging to explore the forest.

Because their wild habitat is vanishing due to deforestation, Red Panda populations are in decline.  In some areas of their range, poaching is a significant threat.  Red Pandas are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Zoo breeding programs like the Species Survival Plan aim to maintain a high level of genetic diversity in zoo populations to help preserve this species for the future.