Lansing Zoo welcomes the birth of an endangered red panda
LANSING (WWJ) – Potter Park Zoo in Lansing welcomed a new edition at the end of July: an adorable baby red panda.
This is the third litter at the zoo for 8-year-old mother Maliha, and her second in two years, carnivore and senior primate keeper Annie Marcum told WWJ’s Beth Fisher.
And that’s a big problem because the species is endangered.
“This is an important birth for us because every red panda matters,” Marcum said. “It is a population that is endangered in the wild and we are outside the AVA, the American Zoological Associationand one species survival plan for these red pandas to ensure that we can maintain a genetically diverse population in captivity.”
Marcum said the new addition was born on July 21 and weighed just over 100 grams. Within weeks, she said the cub – who they believe to be a male – had “grown like a weed” and now weighs 370 grams.
Red pandas are born deaf, blind and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, zoo says. It takes more than two weeks for the cubs to open their eyes and at two months the cubs begin to venture outside the nest.
“He stays in a nest box with mom for a long time,” Marcum said. “Red panda cubs grow slowly and mum spends a lot of time caring for them.”
Maliha and the little one will not be exhibited for the moment.
Marcum said it won’t be until at least September before the little one starts leaving the nest box, but even then “it’ll only be for a few moments and then mom will bring him back.”
The zoo currently has four red pandas: the cub’s mother, father and big sister.