News | Environment
22 Jan 2018 13:42
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  •   Home > News > Environment

    Red panda cub born in Wellington

    The recent birth of a red panda cub in Wellington Zoo has given conservation efforts for the endangered species a much needed boost, zookeepers say.

    It might not be a miraculous conception rivalling that of Jesus, but a red panda's recent birth at Wellington Zoo has come close.

    The cub was born on Sunday morning to first-time parents Khusi and Sundar.

    And what is so special is that female red panda's are particularly picky.

    They only come into season one day a year, giving them an "incredibly small window" to get pregnant and even lower odds for a successful conception.

    Add to that, there are very few outward signs when a female is pregnant and zoo staff were happily surprised to find the young panda cub safe and well.

    "The last red panda cub born at the Zoo was on Christmas Eve in 2009, so the birth of a red panda cub is a fantastic achievement," animal care manager Jo Richardson says.

    With Khusi doing such a good job of caring for her young, zoo staff are keeping their distance, limiting their contact to simple daily checks to allow them to bond.

    It will also be a while before the cub's gender is known by keepers and a few months before the public get to see it as it stays in a nest box with Khusi.

    Khusi and Sundar are a new breeding couple registered in the endangered species' international conservation programme.

    Sundar arrived at Wellington Zoo from Auckland Zoo in November, 2015, while Khusi arrived from Hamilton Zoo the same year.

    The international conservation breeding programme for red pandas is critical, given their conservation status was upgraded in 2015 from vulnerable to endangered due to their dwindling numbers in the wild, Ms Richardson.

    A name will be chosen for the cub once its gender is known.


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