June 23, 2024

Update on A Busy Week at Lee Richardson Zoo

Lee Richardson Zoo is happy to report that the red panda cubs are doing well. The little female being hand-reared is growing each day. Ember, the mother red panda, allowed keepers to weigh her other cub who is doing just fine under mother’s care. The cubs, who are now 13 days old, should be opening their eyes within the next 7-8 days. 

In order to help the little cub that is being hand-reared learn how to be a red panda, it has been matched up with another singleton close in age that is also being hand-reared at another facility. This facility also participates in the Red Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP) and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The cubs will be peer-reared together at
the Detroit Zoo starting in late August. 

While staff are pleased with the progress of the cubs, they were saddened late last week when the male North American river otter, Liwanu, passed away after a dental procedure to address an infection and bad teeth. Liwanu was 11 years old, had a history of dental issues, and had been at the zoo since late 2010. In the wild, North American river otters can be found alone, in pairs, or in groups. Ariel, a sixteen-year-old female,
can be seen lounging or playing in the pool at the Kansas Waters habitat. 

Sloth bear encounters are now available to visitors on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 12:30 pm at the Wild Asia sloth bear habitat. Like the giraffe and rhino encounters also offered on
weekends, this is an opportunity for guests to get an up-close experience while purchasing and offering keeper-approved food items to the zoo residents with the assistance of zoo staff. All animal encounters are contingent upon suitable weather and the cooperation of the animals involved. Sloth bear encounters are 1 for $3 or 2 for $5. Funds from the encounters support zoo
operations and conservation efforts.