Red Panda

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. 


3_11816200_881453561909069_6394997806025376310_oPhoto Credits: Zoo Liberec

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.

Perky Panda Cubs Meet the World

It may be summer in the northern hemisphere, but in New Zealand, it’s almost winter – the perfect time for a pair of Red Panda cubs to debut at the Hamilton Zoo.

11203168_452227848288870_8546975382435637229_nPhoto Credit:  Hamilton Zoo

Born on January 22, the cubs – one male and one female – are thriving under the care of their mother, Tayla.  This is Tayla’s fourth litter.

Cubs typically remain in the nest box with their mother for several months before venturing out.  At about five to six months of age, Red Panda cubs begin weaning from mother’s milk to a diet of bamboo. 

Red Pandas have only one litter of cubs per year.  In fact, there is only a 24-hour window each year during which Red Pandas breed. This limited breeding cycle, coupled with habitat loss, contributes to Red Pandas’ decline in the wild.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists Red Pandas as Vulnerable in their native range of southwestern China, northern India, Tibet, Bhutan, Burma and Nepal. 

Red Panda Twins Pull a Fast One on Adelaide Keepers


On the morning of January 28th, Adelaide Zoo Panda Keepers made a delightful, yet surprising, discovery during a routine clean of the Red Panda night quarters. Inside were two tiny Red Panda cubs!




Photo Credits: Dave Mattner

Zoo keepers had ruled out the possibility that the Zoo’s eight-year-old female Red Panda was pregnant in December, after the yearly birthing season passed without the arrival of cubs.

Since the discovery, the two ten-week-old cubs have spent most of their time in a private den snoozing, like most newborns do, while tended to by their mum, ‘Imandari’.

The cubs had their first veterinarian exam recently. They received a general health check, and had their first round of vaccinations. It was also confirmed that both cubs are male!

Adelaide Zoo Panda Keeper, Constance Girardi, said Imandari’s previous litter of cubs was still living with her, which would normally inhibit pregnancy. The discovery of the new cubs came as a great surprise.

“While we had noticed a few behaviors that could indicate pregnancy early on, these behaviors soon subsided and when the birthing season (usually around December) passed, we assumed she was not pregnant,” Constance said. “You can imagine our surprise when we noticed some extra bedding in the nesting box, and upon discovery, uncovered two very tiny, very cute red fluff balls!”

Constance continued, “Red Panda cubs are born quite underdeveloped, so it was important that we followed a hands-off approach and allow time for them to grow and develop a bond with their mum. Red Pandas are known for their slow rates of reproduction and high infant mortality rates, so to have two litters of cubs born within 13 months is a fantastic result and a testament to Imandari’s stellar mothering skills.”

As the pair grows, they are expected to become more adventurous and confident with their surroundings. Once they start exploring their habitat, visitors can hope to catch a glimpse of the duo.

Despite their name, Red Pandas are more closely related to raccoons than to their black-and-white counterparts. Native to eastern Himalayas and south-western China, Red Pandas spend most of their time in trees eating bamboo and a variety of fruits, leaves and eggs.

Red Pandas are classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. It is estimated there are fewer than 10,000 left in the wild. The major threats facing Red Pandas in the wild are habitat loss and fragmentation, inbreeding depression, and poaching.

The Pitter-Patter of Fluffy Red Feet


New Zealand’s Auckland Zoo is hearing the pitter-patter of fluffy red feet!  A Red Panda cub born in mid-January is growing fast, and keepers were able to snap a few quick photos during the cub’s recent weigh-ins.



10959635_10152674643801984_6589442166817360413_nPhoto Credit:  Auckland Zoo

At one month old, the little cub weighed about one pound.  Bo, the cub’s mother, appears to be taking good care of her cub, because it increased in weight about 25 percent in one week, adding a quarter-pound.

Cubs stay in the nest until they are about three months old, after which they begin exploring the outside world under mom’s watchful eye.  At about five to six months old, cubs begin weaning from mother’s milk to bamboo and other leaves, berries, bird eggs, and flower blossoms.

Red Pandas are native to China, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar, where they inhabit cool, temperate bamboo forests.  Fewer than 10,000 adult Red Pandas are thought to live in the wild, where they are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the Red Panda cub below.

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Snow Day for Red Panda Twins


In September, ZooBorns brought you the story of a sweet duo of Red Panda cubs at Lincoln Children’s Zoo, in Nebraska. 




Photo Credits: Lincoln Children's Zoo

The twins were born July 1st to mother, ‘Sophia’. Unfortunately, Sophia was unable to provide adequate care for the pair. Zoo staff intervened and began hand-rearing the cubs.

The Zoo decided to ask the public for help naming the cubs. In October, the winning names were selected, in honor of famous Nebraska natives: ‘Carson’ for television icon, Johnny Carson, and ‘Willa’ for writer, Willa Cather.

Today, the duo is not only thriving, but they are thoroughly enjoying the holiday season, especially the snow! 

A Happy Ending for Two Rescued Red Panda Cubs


With four breeding pairs, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo has one of the most successful Red Panda breeding programs in the United States.  But even strong programs experience challenges:   Earlier this year, two Red Panda cubs – named Henry and Tink – almost didn’t make it.  But thanks to expert care, these two little ones are thriving, and you can see their story in this video.

Photo Credit:  Smithsonian's National Zoo


Henry was so sick at birth that keepers weren’t sure he’d survive his first day of life.    Because Henry is genetically valuable to the Red Panda Species Survival Plan, the zoo put as many resources as necessary into saving this little cub.  Henry stopped breathing, and he was on oxygen for one month.  He later overcame a bout of pneumonia, and by the time he was three months old, Henry had increased his weight ten-fold – a huge accomplishment given his rough start in life.

Tink was cared for by her mother for a short time, but she was not growing.  Keepers determined that her mother was not producing enough milk.  Again, the National Zoo’s staff swung into action and removed Tink from her mother’s care.  Today, Tink is gaining weight and growing just as she should.

Henry and Tink are constant companions, and even though Henry is much bigger, the staff says he is extremely gentle with his friend.  The two play, explore, and simply hang out together.

You can see Henry and Tink’s story in this web episode of Wild Inside the National ZooView the entire series to learn more about the behind-the-scenes operation of the National Zoo.

Red, White and New at Kansas City Zoo

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A Red Panda Cub, at the Kansas City Zoo, recently made his public debut. Born June 17th, the five month old male, named ‘Fei Jai’ (fay-jay), has been behind the scenes since birth, staying close to mom, ‘Gaila’.  

KC ZOO Red Panda

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KC ZOO Red Panda-4Photo Credits: Kansas City Zoo

Fei Jai currently weighs a little over 4 pounds, but considering his birth weight of 4 ounces, he is healthy and developing, as expected. Fei Jei will remain close to his mother until the next mating season begins, and he will reach adult size at about 12 months of age. Like his mother, Gaila, he will be about the size of a house cat, when fully grown.

The curious male cub has just started exploring his exhibit, and he has begun eating the panda staple food, bamboo. Red Pandas primarily eat bamboo leaves and fresh shoots, but they are also known to enjoy berries, blossoms, bird eggs, and small leaves of various other plants. Like all Red Pandas, Fei Jai has a small, bony projection on his wrist that helps him grip bamboo stalks. Giant Pandas also have this thumb-like adaptation. 

In 2008, it was determined that approximately 10,000 individual Red Pandas were found globally. Since the population is expected to decline in the future, the Red Panda is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and conservation efforts are in place.

It’s All About that Pumpkin

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Pumpkins are everywhere, this time of year! They make great pies, Jack-O-Lanterns, and pretty awesome enrichment toys for zoo animals. Happy Halloween from ZooBorns!

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Photo Credits: Tammy Spratt/San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Image 1: African Lion Cub); Amiee Stubbs Photography (Image 2: "Charlie" the Porcupine at Nashville Zoo); Lincoln Children's Zoo (Image 3: "Lincoln" the Red Panda); ZooAmerica (Image 4: "Rainier" the Mountain Lion); Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn (Image 5: Elephants); Sue Ogrocki (Images 6-Gorilla,7-Red River Hogs,10-Galapagos Tortoise at Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens); Minnesota Zoo (Image 8: Lynx); The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens (Image 9: Meerkats)

More great pumpkin pics below the fold!

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