Image: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

San Diego Zoo Celebrate First Red Panda Birth in Two Decades

Author

The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Published

July 8, 2023 6:16 pm

Location

San Diego, California, The United States

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance have introduced their first red panda cub born in almost two decades to the California attraction. The birth is an exciting moment for the survival of this threatened species.

Guests visiting the zoo on July 6 were treated to some of the first glimpses of the cub as mother Adira brought the cub out of the den for the first time in their Asian Passage habitat. The curious cub is currently one month old but this is the first time guests and keepers had been able to get a glimpse of the baby.

At present the cub is unnamed. It was born on June 9 to parents Adira and Lucas. Since then Adira has been doting on the cub in the safety of their den. It will continue to nurse from mum for 13 to 22 weeks. Between 6 and 7 weeks old it will begin spending more time active and leaving the den.

“The birth of any animal is always an emotional experience, but for a species that hasn’t conceived in so long, this moment is even more remarkable,” said Erika Kohler, senior vice president & executive director of the San Diego Zoo. “Every birth carries so much weight, so this cub provides hope for everyone working to save this important Asian species.”

Red panda numbers have fallen by 40% over the past 50 years. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature now list the species as endangered. Habitat loss and degradation, human encroachment and climate change are all impacting on the species.

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance are working to save the species through a partnership with the non-profit Red Panda Network to identify unprotected red panda habitat and train “forest guardians,” who monitor the health of the forest and work with the local communities to preserve and protect it.

“San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s work in Asia is focused on the illegal wildlife trade and reducing the demand for wildlife products. This is essential for conserving the unique species that call that region home,” Dr. Nadine Lamberski, chief conservation and wildlife health officer, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance explained. “Good news, such as the birth of this new red panda cub, raises awareness of the threats to wildlife and what we can do to safeguard biodiverse ecosystems for future generations.“

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A red panda's diet is very low in calories so most of their time is spent sleeping or eating and they can spend up to 13 hours a day searching for bamboo.

Image: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

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