NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — A new red panda cub has been added to the Buttonwood Park Zoo family.
At 21 days old, the red panda cub is 336 grams and just over 10 inches long. The zoo’s female red panda, 2-year-old Marie, gave birth to the cub on June 4.
This is the first red panda to be born at the zoo.
“The cub is changing rapidly as well – in addition to growing from the size of a potato to the size of an eggplant– but much fluffier of course,” Buttonwood Park Zoo Red Panda Keeper Stephanie Durette-Medeiros said. “It’s been wriggly since day one, rolling over and flopping around trying to get its feet under itself. We saw it attempt to crawl a few centimetres last week!”
The cub’s birth was announced Tuesday on Facebook Live and IGTV during the zoo’s “Virtual Keeper Chat.”
“We are beyond thrilled to announce the birth of our first red panda cub at the zoo,” Buttonwood Park Zoo Director Keith Lovett said. “It’s also an incredible opportunity for the zoo to be able to connect our community to the plight of the endangered red panda and our conservation efforts to help protect this species in the wild.”
The mom and cub are both doing well, according to the zoo, but are staying behind the scenes for the time being. Dr. Erica Lipanovich, the zoo’s veterinarian, said the cub will remain in the nest box inside the red panda’s night house for the next two months.
“We are waiting for its eyes to open and for it to start walking,” Lipanovich said. “As the cub grows, its thick fur will eventually turn the iconic rusty red color that gives red pandas their name. The cub will join mom and dad outside when it can safely navigate the perching in its habitat.”
The cub will remain with Marie for at least one year. The father, 3-year-old Jacob, is said to be respecting Marie and the cub.
“Marie has been a fantastic and attentive first-time mother,” Durette-Medeiros said. “Over the past week, Marie has started to show interest in venturing out into the habitat while the cub is napping – she’s typically going out in the morning and then again later in the afternoon. This is usually when we hear some vocalizations from the cub – demanding mom to come back inside!”