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Red panda born at Franklin Park Zoo

red panda baby

A fluffy, red-furred “firefox” born on July 6 is the newest member of the red panda family at Franklin Park Zoo.

The cub, a male, has been bonding behind-the-scenes with mom Fia since its birth. This is the second cub for Fia and male, Hoppy. Born helpless and with eyes closed, red panda cubs stay in the nest box with their mother for about the first 90 days of their lives. The cub is expected to make his exhibit debut later this fall.

“We are thrilled to announce this exciting birth, and for guests to be able to watch this little one grow and explore when he makes his exhibit debut this fall. This is the second birth for Fia, who has been very attentive to the cub and is doing everything that a new mom should,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO.

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 help to ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered, and enhance conservation of these species in the wild. This birth is the result of a recommended breeding between Fia and Hoppy. Sadly, a second cub, who was smaller than its sibling, died of health issues approximately one week after birth.

Zoo New England is committed to the conservation of red pandas and has supported the Red Panda Network, which seeks to save wild red pandas and preserve their habitat by empowering local communities through community-based research, education and carbon mitigation.

Baby needs a name!

Red panda caretakers have come up with two name options for this little one, and the public is invited to vote on their favorite name in the poll on Franklin Park Zoo’s Facebook Page through Friday, October 4 at 12:00pm. The winning name will be announced later that afternoon.

About red pandas:

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 endangered species is scarce and declining, threatened by habitat loss in the wild.