Red Panda

Parallel Playmates at Lincoln Children’s Zoo

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Lincoln Children’s Zoo, in Nebraska, is excited to announce two new stars in their zoo family, Red Panda twins!  The siblings, a boy and a girl, were born July 1st to mother, Sophia.

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Photo Credits: Lincoln Children's Zoo

Because the soon-to-be-named duos mother needed intervention with her new babies, they are being hand raised by keepers at the zoo. 

The cubs are doing exceedingly well and displaying all the marks of healthy, active siblings. The female cub has a stuffed animal frog she is friends with and loves napping on. The male cub is full of energy, and like a typical brother, loves to pick on his sister. One of his favorite activities is to provoke his sister into a fight and, then, tease her with a hasty retreat.

The female cub will live at the zoo for the next year, and the male will move to another zoo in the coming months. The cub's names will be announced soon!

Native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China, the Red Panda is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Their population in the wild continues to decline due to habitat loss, poaching, and inbreeding depression. 


Red Panda Cub Debuts at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

Maliha in bowl with logo 8-28-14Right on schedule, Maliha, a 3-month-old Red Panda cub at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, began coming out of her nest box last week.  Most Red Panda cubs emerge from the nest at about 12 weeks of age.

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Maliha and Xiao 9-2 with logoPhoto Credit:  Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

According to zoo keepers, Maliha has a bold personality that sometimes makes her mother, Xiao, nervous.  Maliha likes to climb and explore, with her mother often following close behind, calling out warnings to the daring cub.  Sometimes, Xiao will urge Maliha back into the nest box, as if to say “Playtime is over!”

Zoo keepers say Maliha is strong and feisty, and is steadily gaining weight.  She now weighs about two pounds. 

You first met Maliha on ZooBorns in July.  Born on June 9, Maliha is especially important because she is the first Red Panda cub to survive at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.  Xiao gave birth to two previous litters, but none of her offspring survived more than two weeks.  About half of all Red Panda cubs die within the first 30 days after birth.  

Xiao’s breeding with her mate, Junjie, was recommended by the Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).

Red Pandas are found only in the mountainous regions of Nepal, Myanmar, and central China.  They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, primarily due to habitat destruction.  The SSP carefully manages this species to maintain a genetically diverse, demographically stable, and self-sustaining zoo population. 

See more photos of the Red Panda cub below.

Continue reading "Red Panda Cub Debuts at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo " »


Red Panda Birth Announced at Nashville Zoo

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The Nashville Zoo announced this week the birth of a female Red Panda cub on July 3.  The cub is doing well and bonding with her mother in their off-exhibit den. 

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Photo Credit: Amiee Stubbs

Known for their teddy bear-like appearance and red fur, Red Pandas are native to the mountains of Central China, Nepal and northern Myanmar (Burma). They are considered vulnerable to extinction due to habitat destruction. In addition, slow rates of reproduction and high infant mortality rates make it very hard for this species to rebound from population declines.

“Red Panda mothers are very prone to stress and easily agitated, which could cause them to reject or unintentionally harm the cubs,” said Karen Rice, carnivore supervisor. “Because of the high infant mortality rate, we took every precaution possible to ensure the baby was delivered and cared for safely.”  

The zoo staff worked to make the expectant mother comfortable by providing space for “denning” several months prior to her expected delivery date.

“We anticipated a late June/early July birth so we denned up our female in May. She was confined in the building that she is used to and provided with a choice of nest boxes and most importantly – air conditioning!” Rice said.

Animal care staff monitored the female for signs of stress and added video cameras to the nest boxes. These precautions allowed staff to observe the cub’s arrival, nursing, and other important milestones with disturbing mother and cub.

“After our female gave birth we made the decision to continue our hands-off approach since all was going so well. At one month of age, we did our first neonate exam and determined the cub to be female, in good health and weighing just under two pounds. The cub and mom both did well and were happily reunited right after.”

The Zoo’s two Red Panda adults are a part of AZA’s Species Survival Program, which manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining captive population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. If the cub continues to thrive, the zoo will debut the cub this fall.  At about a year old, she will most likely leave Nashville Zoo to be paired with a mate for breeding. 

If all continues to progress, the Zoo hopes to debut the cub this fall.  


Brilliant Red Panda Duo at Chester Zoo

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Keepers at Chester Zoo, in the UK, were happily surprised by the arrival of two new Red Panda cubs!

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Red panda cubs_Chester Zoo_4Photo Credits: Steve Rawlins (Photo 4: Mother "Nima"; Photo 5: Father "Jung")

The cubs recently had their first health check-up, and are doing very well. The Red Panda twins, a boy and a girl, were born on June 27 to first-time mother, Nima, and dad, Jung.  Keepers were alerted to their arrival after hearing “little squeaks” from inside their nesting box. Keeper Maxine Bradley said, “Our two cubs are in very good shape. They’re big and strong with very thick fur. Our male weighed in at just under 1kg (2.2 lbs) and our female 842g (1.9 lbs). We’re really pleased with how well they’re doing, and as soon as we had given them a health check, we popped them back into their nest. It’ll be several weeks until they start to emerge and explore.”

Red Pandas, whose scientific name Ailurus fulgens means ‘brilliant cat’, are native to the steep forested slopes of the Himalayas. They are a one-of-a-kind in the animal kingdom as they have no close living relatives. According to the IUCN Red List, they are classified as “Vulnerable”. There are estimated to be less than 10,000 individuals in the wild, with a projected decline of 10% within the next 30 years.

Not only has Chester Zoo been successful at breeding Red Pandas, but the zoo also plays an important role in helping safeguard the future of this rare species in its Chinese homeland. The zoo supports the Sichuan Forest Biodiversity Project in the Sichuan Mountains of China, where Red Pandas are found in the wild. The future survival of the species is increasingly vulnerable as developers are taking over the bamboo forests which they depend on to live. Bamboo is the main food in their daily diet. They're also hunted for their prized red fur, which in parts of the world is used to make hats for newly-weds. Some indigenous people believe the fur symbolizes a happy marriage.

Chester Zoo is a registered conservation charity that supports projects around the world and in the UK. Through its wildlife conservation campaign, Act for Wildlife, the zoo is helping to save highly threatened species around the world from extinction. 

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Red Pandas Born at Drusillas Park, UK Residents Can Enter To Win Cool ZooBorns Prizes, Park Tickets and More!

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It’s panda-monium at Drusillas Park in East Sussex following the birth of two Red Panda babies; the first of their kind to be born in the zoo’s 89 year history!
 
As with the Giant Panda, female Red Pandas are only fertile for just one day a year and can delay implantation until conditions are favorable. Red Pandas give birth to between one and four young at a time and the cubs are born with pale fluffy fur.

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Mulan with the red panda babies

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This week we have teamed up with the lovely people from Drusillas Park to offer UK residents the chance to win some FANTASTIC PRIZES! All you need to do is LIKE AND SHARE both Drusillas' Facebook page and ZooBorns' Facebook page! The prizes up for grabs this time are.....#drumroll.....

- A COMPLIMENTARY FAMILY OF 4 TICKET TO DRUSILLAS PARK!
 
- A ZOOBORNS BOOK FEATURING THE CUTEST BABY ANIMALS YOU ARE EVER LIKELY TO SEE!
 
- AN EXTREMELY CUTE FENNEC FOX IPHONE 5/5S COVER!
 
- AND A RED PANDA TOY!

Good luck to all of those who enter! THE COMPETITION IS OPEN TO UK RESIDENTS ONLY!


Fort Wayne's Red Panda Cub is "Feisty, Chubby, and Squirmy"

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A Red Panda cub born June 9 at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo made her media debut this week and was proclaimed “feisty, chubby, and squirmy” by her keepers.

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30 day Exam 001adjusted(1)Photo Credit:  Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

 
Now 30 days old, the female cub passed a critical milestone.  “About half of all Red Panda cubs die within 30 days after birth,” says Animal Curator Mark Weldon.  “We are obviously pleased that our cub has made it this far.”  The cub has not yet been named.

Though the cub has survived the first 30 days, she still faces other hurdles. “Weaning is a critical time for Red Panda cubs as they make the transition from mother’s milk to solid food,” explained Zoo Keeper Helena Lacey.  Weaning occurs when the cub is five to six months old.

Five-year-old mother Xiao and her cub spend nearly all of their time in an air-conditioned nest box within the Red Panda exhibit, where Xiao nurses, grooms, and sleeps next to her cub.  This is natural behavior for Red Pandas, which nest in hollow trees in the wild.  Cubs typically remain in the nest box for about three months. 

Zoo keepers monitor the duo via a remote camera mounted in the nest box.  “They sleep most of the time, but we also see Xiao grooming herself and the cub,” said Lacey.  Xiao leaves the nest box several times a day to eat and climb in the exhibit while her cub remains in the nest box. 

Three to four times a week, zoo keepers distract Xiao with a tasty bamboo branch and quickly weigh the cub.  So far, the cub is gaining weight and has more than tripled her birth weight of 139 grams to 454 grams (about one pound).  Twice a week, the veterinary staff performs a brief exam on the cub, checking for any abnormalities.

The cub’s eyes are now open.  The baby squirms and squeals during her weigh-ins and checkups – signs of a strong and alert cub.  At this time, the zoo staff sees no need to intervene by hand-rearing the cub or offering supplemental feedings, though protocols are in place should the need arise.

The breeding of Red Pandas is overseen by the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).  The goal of the SSP is to maximize genetic diversity in zoo-dwelling populations of endangered and threatened animals. 

Red Pandas are native to the forested foothills of the Himalaya Mountains in China and Nepal, where they feed primarily on bamboo.  Though they share a name with the famed black-and-white giant pandas, the two are not closely related.  The name “panda” comes from the Nepalese word ponya, which means “bamboo-eater.” They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

 


Four Litters of Red Panda Cubs Born at SCBI

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All four Red Panda pairs at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., successfully bred and had cubs this year. Of the 10 cubs, more born at SCBI than any other year, seven have survived.

The latest pair to have cubs was Shama and Rusty, who are best known to the public. Rusty gained national attention in June 2013 after he escaped from his enclosure on Asia Trail at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Shama, an experienced mother, gave birth to three cubs June 26. This is the first litter Rusty has sired. Keepers had been monitoring Shama closely the past few weeks since her behavior indicated she might be pregnant. Keepers are observing the cubs via a closed-circuit camera, and the cubs appear healthy.

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Rusty and Shama’s three cubs join three other litters born within the past five weeks. Two cubs were born May 27 to female Yanhua and male Sherman. It was their first litter.

Two more cubs were born June 16 to female Regan and male Rocco. One cub was stillborn; the other is being hand-reared to increase chances of survival. The surviving cub is currently in critical condition and receiving round-the-clock care. Keepers took extra steps to prepare for the birth of Regan’s cubs. She has given birth before, but has neglected cubs in the past. As a result, keepers trained her to voluntarily participate in ultrasounds, and they moved her to the veterinary hospital before the birth and monitored her 24 hours a day when she began showing signs consistent with an impending birth. Regan is very genetically valuable to the red panda population in human care, and keepers took every precaution to increase the likelihood of a successful birth.

Continue reading "Four Litters of Red Panda Cubs Born at SCBI" »


Peek-a-boo At Hamilton Zoo With Two Red Panda Cubs

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The birth of two rare Nepalese Red Pandas thrilled Hamilton Zoo keepers earlier this year and now that they’ve reached four months old, they are venturing out and exploring their enclosure.
 
“The pair and their mum are doing great,” says Hamilton Zoo Curator Samantha Kudeweh.
 
“Initially the cubs weren’t gaining as much weight as they should have so we started supplement feeding. That worked really well and now the pair are fit and healthy and enjoying hanging out with their extended family”.
 
Although it’s difficult to tell early on, Kudeweh said they are fairly confident the two cubs are both females.
 
“If this is the case, it means we have a nice mix with our juveniles, as the new cubs have three male siblings Karma, Nima and Dawa who were born last year.”

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Red Pandas are found throughout the Himalayan ranges, in Western China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and India. They live in the same habitat as the Giant Panda and almost exclusively eat bamboo leaves and occasionally fruit, small animals, eggs and roots.
 
Classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union of Conservation of Nature, their population in the wild is thought to be less than 10,000 and decreasing. Deforestation and habitat fragmentation are the main threats to the survival of the species, and poaching for their beautiful fur is a major problem in China, where pelts have cultural significance.


Auckland Zoo Welcomes Red Panda Twins

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Auckland Zoo in New Zealand is celebrating the birth of Nepalese Red Panda twins, two very valuable additions to the international breeding program for this threatened species.

The two cubs were born on January 3, each weighing approximately 100 grams. They are the second and third offspring of four-year-old mum Bo and 13-year-old Sagar, who just over a year ago produced their first-born, male Pabu. Sagar, who was relocated from India's Darjeeling Zoo in 2010, contributes a particularly valuable new bloodline into the Australasian region.

"These births are fantastic news, both for Australasia and for the wider Global Species Management Plan through which Red Panda are managed. We're absolutely delighted Bo has had two healthy cubs and that she's proving once again to be such a confident and attentive mother," says acting Carnivore Team Leader Lauren Booth.

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Photo credits: Auckland Zoo

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"Following Pabu's birth, we've learnt to read Bo's behavior well so we can gauge the best time to check on and weigh the cubs to track their progress, but otherwise remain hands-off. They have now opened their eyes and are moving about in the nest box a little more, and will sometimes 'huff' at us. Their weights have shot up to 403 grams and 423 grams respectively - above average, so we know they're getting plenty to eat, but they still have a lot more growing to do!"

Booth says like one-year-old Pabu, who will relocate to another zoo in Australia within the next six months, the yet-to-be named and sexed cubs will also in time leave Auckland Zoo to contribute to the international breeding program.

"As zoos we work together to ensure genetic diversity is achieved for insurance populations like the Red Panda - which is vital, but it is an insurance policy, not a solution. Increasingly, we're part of conservation efforts in the wild. Auckland Zoo continues to grow its support of Red Panda Network, whose outstanding community education and forest guardianship programs in eastern Nepal (key Red Panda territory) are playing a vital role in helping protect this species that's threatened by habitat loss and poaching."

 See and learn more after the fold!

Continue reading "Auckland Zoo Welcomes Red Panda Twins" »


Help Name Dublin Zoo's Red Panda Twins!

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Dublin Zoo's twin Red Panda cubs, born on July 14, are just starting to venture outside of their den at thee months old. The thriving cubs have a very strong bond with their parents, Angelina and Chota. The twins, one male and one female, weighed approximately .3 pounds (150 grams) at birth, but are growing steadily.

Team Leader Eddie O’Brien says, “Red pandas are endangered in the wild so we are over the moon that this is the third litter born to Angelina and Chota. The cubs are both doing very well and getting more adventurous and confident.”

Dublin Zoo is hosting a naming contest for the pair on their FaceBook page. They are looking for names that celebrate the Red Panda's Asian origin. To submit your ideas, just post a comment here

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6 red pandaPhoto credits: Patrick Bolger / Dublin Zoo

Red Pandas are not closely related to Giant Pandas; rather, they belong in their own unique group that is more closely related to weasels. They are native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. Fully grown, they are slightly larger than domestic cats. Red Pandas spend most of their time in trees, eating a variety of fruits, leaves and eggs. Their long bushy tails are excellent for balance, and also serve as a cozy wrap-around scarf for the Red Panda in cold weather. They also have fur on the soles of their feet to prevent them from slipping on wet branches. 

Although protected throughout most of their range, Red Pandas are threatened by poaching and habitat loss. They have been classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Species; it is estimated that there are fewer than 10,000 adult Red Pandas.