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Red panda born at Franklin Park Zoo

 Redpanda Baby

The staff at Franklin Park Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of a red panda cub.

The cub, a male, was born on June 19, 2014 to Carys (mother) and Yang (father). Born helpless and with eyes closed, the cubs stay in the nest box with their mother for about the first 90 days. The typical gestation period for red pandas is about 134 days, and females give birth to one to four cubs. This is the first cub for Carys.

The cub was recently given access to the outdoor exhibit, which means he can choose to stay indoors or outdoors. If the cub is not visible outside, visitors should look at the nearby monitor where they will likely be able to see the cub inside.

“We are thrilled to announce this exciting birth. Carys has proven to be an excellent mother and she is doing everything an attentive red panda mother should,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO, who added,  “The cub is very curious and it is fun to watch him explore and learn new skills from his mother. We know people will take great interest in this cub and hope they will learn more about these fascinating little animals.”

Zoo New England participates in the Red Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species. This birth is the result of a recommended breeding between Carys and Yang.

Red pandas, which resemble raccoons, have white and red markings and are covered with dense fur. They use their long, bushy tails to balance when they are in trees. In the wild, red pandas can be found in the cool temperate bamboo forests in the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan in China, as well as in the Himalayas and Myanmar. They share part of their range with giant pandas, a species that despite their name they are not closely related to. Red pandas, also known as a firefox, have a varied diet, but do eat bamboo. They have a small bony projection on their wrists that helps them grip bamboo stalks. This species is scarce and declining, threatened by habitat loss in the wild.

Learn more about the red panda in Franklin Park Zoo's Animals section.

Photo courtesy of Zoo New England/Melissa Durham