A pair of red panda cubs born on January 15th 2015 at Hamilton Zoo have taken their first steps out of their nest.
According to Hamilton Zoo curator Samantha Kudeweh their first few months were spent tucked up in the nest box relying on mum to fulfil their needs. Now they are beginning to explore their surrounds.
These are the 7th and 8th cubs for resident red panda pair Tayla and Chito. They live with the new cubs and sister Khela who was born in January 2014. Their brothers and sisters can be found across the globe in places such as New York, Singapore, Canberra and Wellington.
Keepers have noted that the cubs have two very different personalities as Kudweh explained, “The female is feisty and robust, while the male is a relaxed little guy.”
Red pandas naturally occur throughout the Himalayan ranges in Western China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and India. Unfortunately some of these areas were devastated by the recent earthquake as Kudweh explained, ““Hamilton Zoo’s focus and success in breeding this iconic Nepalese species means the recent earthquakes in Nepal are never far from mind for the Zoo team. Our hearts are with the people of Nepal, and also with the wildlife and the effects on the environment.”
Due to habitat fragmentation and the poaching for their pelt has seen numbers drop to less than 10,000 with this decline continuing. The International Union of Conservation of Nature currently classes them as “vulnerable.”
Photo Credit: Hamilton Zoo