Image: © ZSL

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo Introduce Red Panda Twins


Cale Russell


August 3, 2023 11:12 am


London, England, The United Kingdom

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are celebrating the birth of two red panda cubs as part of the European Endangered Species Program (EEP) for the red panda.

Parents Ruby and Nilo welcomed their precious new arrivals on June 25th 2023. Since then the new family have been tucked away in a den box as the cubs began their life. Keepers report that the first time parents have taken well to their new role and are providing great care to the new arrivals.

At birth the cubs weighed in at just 113g. They were born blind and it will be 30 days before they first see the world. It will take up to a month for them to take their first adventures outside.

Zookeeper Grant Timberlake said: “We suspected Ruby was pregnant and wanted to do everything we could to make her first experience as a mum a smooth one, so we were ecstatic when we spotted her curled up in one of the nesting boxes we had prepared, using her bushy red tail to keep the two cubs warm.  

“Ruby has been doing an incredible job feeding and caring for the twins, so we’re leaving the family to bond together, only checking in on them when she pops outside to eat.”  

Red pandas can be difficult to spot due to their shy nature, their nocturnal habits and the fact that they spend most of their time up trees - or in this case snuggled up inside a tree stump. We might not see much of Ruby and Nilo’s babies for the first couple of months of their lives, but they’ll be worth the wait when they come outside and start to explore.  And in the meantime, we have these incredible pictures, charting their start to life,” added Grant.

At eight weeks old vets will give the pair their first health check. During this time they will discover if they are male and female allowing them to be named. No matter their gender the cubs represent a major boost to their breeding population of their threatened species.

Grant explained: “These twin cubs give us double hope for the species, as they were born as part of an important European breeding programme for Endangered red pandas, designed to keep a healthy and genetically diverse back-up population safe in conservation zoos - while we tackle the issues they’re facing in the wild. 

Red pandas hail from the Himalayan mountains of Nepal, Myanmar and India, as well as forests in Western China, where they are threatened by habitat loss, a decline in their main food source - bamboo - aswell as poaching for the illegal pet, meat and medicine trade.”   

ZSL work across the Terai Arc Landscape, an area which spans both Nepal and India where illegal wildlife trading is threatening the survival of red pandas, Asian elephants and Bengal tigers. Conservationists from ZSL have trained 400 rangers and installed survellaince equipment to help these species.

Red Panda ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Red panda Ruby is seen in the den with her twin cubs born on June 25th 2023 at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, a UK conservation zoo. Image: © ZSL

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International Red Panda Day

More on the Red Panda!

Meet the red panda from the forest of the Himalayas. Learn all about them in our fact file.

About the Author

Cale Russell

Cale has operated The Animal Facts since 2012. During this time he has volunteered and worked across a range of Australian Wildlife Parks something he continues to today. He holds a certificate in Animal Care and Husbandry.

Our Favourite Red Panda Fact!

They have a thick bushy tail with six yellowish red rings that is extremely long. The tail can measure in length from about 28 to 49 cms (11 to 19 in) and is used by the red panda to help it balance in the trees, they also use it to cover themselves with in the cold.

Image: © ZSL

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