New (red) panda cub at the National Zoo
The National Zoo has a new red panda cub -- the first born at the zoo in more than a decade.
The cub was born June 16. Officials also said two other panda cubs were born June 14 at the Zoo's Front Royal, Va., conservation center, but only one survived.
The parents of the new zoo cub are Tate and Shama, who were introduced in 2009. Tate was brought to Washington from the Nashville Zoo.
According to Tony Barthel, curator of the zoo's Asia Trail exhibit, the cub weighed 6.5 ounces as of Thursday and appears healthy. He said Shama is proving to be an attentive first-time mother.
The Zoo has temporarily closed off the red panda section of the Asia Trail to ensure that mother and cub have time to bond. However, visitors may be able to catch a glimpse of the pair from the upper viewing area.
Officials said 3-year-old Low May gave birth to two cubs on June 14 at the Zoo's conservation center, but only one survived. A pathology report will be done to determine the cause of that cub’s death.
“As red panda numbers decline in the wild, a healthy, thriving captive population will become more and more important to the survival of this species,” said Dennis Kelly, National Zoo director.
Red pandas are considered endangered; there are fewer than 2,500 red of them left in the wild. Red pandas live in the cool temperate bamboo forests in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in China, in the Himalayas and in Burma (Myanmar).
(Photo courtesy of the National Zoo)
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