Baby red panda born at Drusillas zoo

Baby red panda born at Drusillas SUS-150828-134902001
Baby red panda born at Drusillas SUS-150828-134902001

Drusillas staff are celebrating the birth of this baby red panda – the third to be born at the zoo in the last 14 months.

The baby, who is thought by zoo staff to be female, was born on July 17 and keepers are delighted with her progress.

She is being looked after in the safety of the nest box, although some have been lucky enough to see mum, Mulan transporting her between houses.

Head keeper Mark Kenward said, “The red pandas have three separate nest boxes and Mulan will move the baby from one to another, carrying her by the scruff of the neck, so she benefits from the most suitable environment.”

“Mulan is proving to be an excellent mother once again. For the first two days, she remained with her cub approximately 90 per cent of the time.

“However, after a few days this dropped to around 60 per cent, which is exactly what we would expect of this species.”

“The baby has now opened her eyes and is starting to explore her surroundings with caution. She is still very dependent on Mulan and it will be a little while yet before this changes.”

As with the giant panda, female red pandas are only fertile for just one day a year and can delay implantation until conditions are favourable.

They give birth to between one and four young at a time and the cubs are born with pale fluffy fur, which darkens to the distinctive red coloration of the adults over the first three months.

In the wild these mild-mannered creatures inhabit the Himalayan mountains of China, India and Nepal where they are threatened by habitat destruction and hunting.

This is the second time Drusillas Park has welcomed red panda babies since Mulan’s arrival in 2013. On 16 June 2015, she gave birth to mixed-sex twins; the first of this species to be born at the zoo throughout its 90 year history.

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