Woodland Park Zoo is celebrating the birth of red panda twins, the first birth of red pandas at the zoo in 29 years. Both cubs are female and each weighed 5 ounces at birth.
They were born on June 19 to 2-year-old mom Hazel and 13-year-old dad Yukiko.
Red pandas are born extremely small and blind at birth, and rely solely on their mom for care. During the first several days of their lives, they do little but nurse and sleep. They should open their eyes at 2 to 3 weeks of age.
Red pandas share the name of giant pandas, but more closely resemble raccoons. Recent studies suggest they are closely related to skunks, weasels and raccoons.
An endangered species, fewer than 10,000 red pandas remain in their native habitat of bamboo forests in China, the Himalayas and Myanmar, and share part of their range with giant pandas. Their numbers are declining due to deforestation, increased agriculture and cattle grazing, and continuing pressure from growing local populations.
You can find more information and videos on the zoo’s blog.
The zoo recently celebrated the first birthday of its giraffe, Lulu (which means “pearl” in Swahili). And the zoo announced that Lulu will leave in September for a new home at Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Lincoln, Nebraska, based on a recommendation from the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, a conservation breeding program.