Twin red panda cubs have brought a ray of hope for their species, which is facing a threat to its existence, according to the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). The cubs were born at Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, last month on June 25 to their parents, Ruby and Nilo. The sex of the twins has not been determined yet, but each weighed only 113g at birth. For the first 30 days of their lives, red panda cubs are blind and heavily reliant on their mother for care.
Staff at Whipsnade Zoo suspected that Ruby was pregnant for the first time and had prepared nesting boxes to make her comfortable. The zookeepers were delighted to find Ruby curled up in one of the boxes, using her bushy red tail to keep the cubs warm. The devoted mother has been doing an incredible job feeding and caring for the twins, and the zookeepers are allowing the family to bond without interference.
Red pandas, native to the Himalayas and western China, have been experiencing a decline in their numbers due to various threats, including illegal trading, habitat loss, a decline in their main food source of bamboo, poaching, and deforestation. The WWF estimates that there may be as few as 2,500 red pandas left in the wild.
The birth of these twin cubs is a significant milestone for the species, as they are part of an essential European breeding program for endangered red pandas. This program aims to establish a secure backup population in conservation zoos while addressing the challenges faced by red pandas in the wild.
Whipsnade Zoo, owned by ZSL, is renowned for its conservation efforts and dedication to protecting animals and their habitats. While visitors may not be able to see the baby twins for a few months, they can still catch a glimpse of Nilo, the father, who is expected to remain visible to visitors. The arrival of these adorable red panda cubs brings renewed hope for the future of their species and serves as a reminder of the importance of conservation efforts in safeguarding wildlife.