Dudley zoo has celebrated the birth of its 1st red panda in 73 years.
The baby panda has been named Yogi and is thought to have been born in a nesting box approximately 4 months ago, but will have been hidden away by his mother until now. Mum Yasmin built her nest for her baby with leaves, straw and twigs. Staff had been monitoring the 1st time mum’s pregnancy yet had been unsure when Yogi would leave the nest for the first time. He was spotted recently exploring the surroundings of his pen and was tracked to discover his sex.
Zoo staff have estimated that little Yogi weighed approximately 200grams at birth. Born deaf and blind it is essential red pandas remain in their special nest until ready for the outside world.
The red panda’s diet includes bamboo shoots, leaves, bananas, apples and pandacake, a mixture of crushed insects and fruit. Red Panda’s have a life expectancy of around fifteen years in captivity compared to only five years in the wild. Red pandas are currently a protected species. They are becoming increasingly vulnerable as vast amounts of their natural habitats in India, Nepal and China are being destroyed through deforestation.
Peter Suddock, Dudley Zoo’s chief executive is delighted at the birth of the panda and says he is settling in well. He says his dad will have no part in his upbringing yet his mother has settled in well to motherhood.
Red pandas spend most of their time climbing trees and are distant relatives of the larger black and white panda.
Photo courtesy of Carsten.nebel, under Creative Commons licence.