Twin baby red pandas born in zoo

Auckland Zoo just got a whole lot cuter with the birth of twin red panda cubs.


Beautiful red panda. Photo by Tim Sackton.

THE twins, which were born on January 3 without any intervention from zoo staff and weighed about 100 grams each, have not yet been named.

They’re the second and third offspring of four-year-old mum Bo and 13-year-old dad Sagar, who came to Auckland from India’s Darjeeling Zoo in 2010.

Bo and Sagar welcomed their first-born boy, Pabu, into the world just over a year ago.

“We’re absolutely delighted Bo has had two healthy cubs and that she’s proving once again to be such a confident and attentive mother,” Auckland Zoo’s acting carnivore team leader Lauren Booth said.

Ms Booth said the twins were growing fast, although they’d stay in their nest box until March before they go on display.

“They have now opened their eyes and are moving about in the nest box a little more, and will sometimes `huff’ at us.”

Their weights had shot up to about 400g – above average – so they were definitely getting plenty to eat, Ms Booth said.

Their sex will be determined at their first vet check-up in March.

Red pandas are threatened by habitat loss and poaching, and the siblings are expected to help ensure genetic diversity in the international breeding program.

Pabu will be moving to a yet-to-be-confirmed Australian zoo in the next six months.

His younger siblings are also likely to eventually move to other zoos, although that’s a long way off says the zoo’s spokeswoman Jane Healy.

The average lifespan of a red panda is eight to 12 years, although they can live much longer in zoos.

There are about 10,000 red pandas globally, with 500 living in zoos around the world.