Rare Red Panda Born In Wellington
04 Feb 2008
Wellington Zoo’s latest arrival is an endangered red panda cub, born to proud parents Isha and Amy.
The birth is a rare and exciting event as the pandas are only fertile one day a year. The last Wellington Zoo red panda cub was born in 2002.
"Red panda cubs are fairly fragile and one of Amy's cubs was small and did not survive. The other is still going strong though, and it's holed up with its mother in a nest box in the panda enclosure," says keeper Paul Horton.
The cub won't be on display to the public for at least another month to let the mother and cub grow strong.
"We are asking that our visitors to the Zoo be quiet around the red panda enclosure so we can give our first time mum and her baby some peace", says Horton.
Naming the cub is proving tricky because keepers won't be able to tell if it's a male or a female for at least a fortnight. The public is invited to make suggestion for a name, which will be decided in the next three weeks.
The future of the cub is unknown at this point, but it will remain in Wellington for at least a couple of years, confirmed staff member Amy Hughes. However, it is likely that it will take part in a red panda international breeding programme at some point in its life.
It is estimated that only 2500 animals have survived in the wild. Throughout the world 85 zoos currently participate in red panda conservation efforts. On average only 15 cubs are born worldwide per year in captivity.