Red panda cubs out and about at Hamilton Zoo
Zoo News - Posted 27 May 2015
Two Red Panda cubs born in January are now starting to venture out of their den to explore their enclosure at Hamilton Zoo.
The young male and female are the seventh and eight cubs for Hamilton Zoo’s breeding pair Tayla and Chito. The two cubs were born on 15 January, 2015.
Hamilton Zoo curator Samantha Kudeweh says they were tucked up in their nest for the first few months of life relying heavily on their mother, and staff and visitors are pleased see them starting to explore their surroundings.
“The female is feisty and robust, while the male is a relaxed little guy,” Mrs Kudeweh says.
The two new arrivals, yet to be named, are best seen in the mornings in their enclosure at Hamilton Zoo, alongside their parents and older sister Khela who was born in January of 2014. Other offspring from the parents have gone to New York, Singapore, Canberra and Wellington.
“Hamilton Zoo’s focus and success in breeding this iconic Nepalese species means the recent earthquakes in Nepal are never far from mind for the Zoo team," Mrs Kudeweh says. "Our hearts are with the people of Nepal, and also with the wildlife and the effects on the environment.”
The natural habitat of Red Pandas is throughout the Himalayan ranges, in western China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and India. They live in the same habitat as the giant panda and almost exclusively eat bamboo leaves and occasionally fruit, small animals, eggs and roots.
Classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union of Conservation of Nature, their population in the wild is thought to be less than 10,000 and decreasing. Deforestation and habitat fragmentation are the main threats to the survival of the species, and poaching for their beautiful fur is a major problem in China, where pelts have cultural significance.