Garden City, KS(westernkansasnews.com) Lee Richardson Zoo is very happy to announce the birth of three red panda cubs. Ember, the zoo’s 7 year old female red panda, gave birth to the cubs on August 12, 2017. Mother and cubs are doing well. This is Ember’s fourth litter.
“Animal Care staff had been monitoring Ember’s weight, appetite, and behavior closely for the past few months. Ember showed a decreased interest in food and wanted to spend time indoors in the days leading up to the birth, which helped caretakers determine that the birth would be soon,” said General Curator Sarah Colman. Red panda cubs look like miniature versions of the adults and generally stay in or near their den for 8-10 weeks after birth. Based on the timing of events with Ember’s previous litters, Animal Care staff members expect these cubs to make their first outdoor appearance sometime in late October or early November. In the next few days, footage of the cubs will be on the zoo’s website (www.leerichardsonzoo.org), the zoo Facebook page and You Tube channel, as well as local cable channel 8.
Superb climbers, red pandas can descend trees head first like a squirrel thanks to a special rotating ankle joint. In the wild they are found from Nepal to Burma, and into Central China. They are listed as Endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) primarily due to the destruction of their habitat for human use (logging, farming, firewood, etc…). There has also been an increase in poaching and trafficking for the pet trade.
Charlie, the 4 year old father of the cubs, arrived in Garden City in 2014. He and Ember hit it off almost from the first glance. Even now he is most relaxed when near her. However, the cubs are now her primary focus, so dad currently doesn’t have full contact with Ember and the cubs. That will come a bit later. In the meantime, Charlie has access inside on warm days but will be venturing outside periodically for a stroll.