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Animal Bytes (Zoo Happenings)

Posted on: October 7, 2016

Red Panda Born

Den camera picture of red panda cub

Lee Richardson Zoo is very happy to announce the birth of a red panda cub. Ember, the zoo’s 6 year old female red panda, gave birth to the cub on August 20, 2016. Mother and cub are doing well. This is Ember’s third litter.

“Even though zoo staff members were expecting Ember to have cubs this summer based on her appearance and behavior, we were beginning to think we might be wrong. Only 1% of the cubs born in the northern hemisphere are born in August with the rest being born in May, June or July,” said General Curator Jordan Piha. 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 this cub to make its first outdoor appearance sometime in late October or early November. Until then, footage of the cub will be on the zoo’s website (, 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 3 year old father of the cub, 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 cub is now her primary focus, so dad currently doesn’t have full contact with Ember and the cub. That will come a bit later. In the meantime, Charlie has access inside due to the summer heat but will be venturing outside periodically for a stroll.

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