We are thrilled to announce the birth of two Red panda cubs!
The two cubs were born on Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 to Hope, age 6, and her mate Cyril, age 13. The babies are doing very well, which is why this news is especially promising. The Red panda is an endangered species—there are fewer than 10,000 left in the wild bamboo forests in China and Nepal, and the population continues to decline as their habitat is destroyed. Only about 20 or 30 Red pandas are born each year in zoos, since breeding and rearing Red pandas in captivity is very difficult with a high degree of infant mortality. But these two cubs are approaching the first critical milestone at 30 days, and all signs are very positive.
This is the second set of cubs for Hope and Cyril; their first litter, born last year, did not survive. Panda moms do have individual personalities, and Hope tends to be very cautious. To help her stay relaxed, the zoo staff has had very limited daily interaction with her and will continue this policy for an extended period. Trevor Zoo Director Alan Tousignant and Jessica Bennett, director of programs, are very excited about Hope’s excellent care of these cubs so far. “We are able to watch Hope and the cubs in their nest box via a monitor, and as each day passes we become more optimistic about their survival.”
Hope and her cubs are off exhibit and spend most of their time tucked in their nest box. We anticipate they will stay in their indoor quarters until at least September, and at that time they may begin to venture outside. “So far Hope is raising the cubs with no assistance, and we hope it stays that way. That provides the best chance for normal healthy Red panda babies,” says Dr. Tousignant.
Watch daily video highlights at www.millbrook.org/trevorzoolive. Trevor Zoo visitors will also be able to view Hope and her cubs on a live monitor inside the Meigs Zoo Education Center, and they can see dad Cyril on exhibit outside, munching on tasty bamboo branches and stretching out on his ropes. If you would like to support the Red pandas and the Trevor Zoo, please go to www.millbrook.org/zoodonations.