Nashville Zoo welcomed a female red panda cub in early July. Red panda births are highly anticipated, as the species is vulnerable to extinction, their reproduction rate is slow and there is a high infant mortality rate. Karen Rice, a supervisor at the zoo explains,
“Red Panda mothers are very prone to stress and easily agitated, which could cause them to reject or unintentionally harm the cubs. Because of the high infant mortality rate, we took every precaution possible to ensure the baby was delivered and cared for safely.
We anticipated a late June/early July birth so we denned up our female in May. She was confined in the building that she is used to and provided with a choice of nest boxes and most importantly – air conditioning!”
Cameras were installed in the nest boxes, which allowed zoo staff to carefully monitor the birth and nursing without disturbing the mother and cub. Rice continued,
“After our female gave birth, we made the decision to continue our hands-off approach since all was going so well. At one month of age, we did our first neonate exam and determined the cub to be female, in good health and weighing just under two pounds. The cub and mom both did well and were happily reunited right after.”
Sounds like things are going very well for this little cub and her mom. If only the poor thing was even a little bit cute, though.
Via Zooborns/Images Credit: Aimee Stubbs