Red Panda Gives Birth to 'Miracle' Cub Nicknamed 'Little Red' After Death of Partner
"Little Red" is making history!
The Zoological Society of Hertfordshire's Paradise Wildlife Park announced in a statement on Tuesday that its endangered red panda Tilly gave birth to a "miracle" cub.
"In the early hours of 16th of July on one of the hottest days and weeks in U.K. history, the zoo's CCTV cameras captured the incredible moment when Tilly gave birth to a miraculous, beautiful, and healthy cub," the statement read. The cub, nicknamed "Little Red" by zookeepers, has started to develop the species' signature markings and coloring.
The newborn cub's sex has not yet been determined but will be revealed during the little animal's health checks in the upcoming months.
The birth of "Little Red" is significant for the red panda's family, which recently suffered a loss. The cub's father, Nam Pang, died of Addison's disease a month before the cub was born, The Guardian reported.
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According to the English zoo's statement, Tilly and Nam Pang were part of an international breeding program, called the European Ex-Situ Breeding Program, and had been attempting to conceive for the past four years before "Little Red" came into the world.
Tilly is doing okay after the loss of her partner. According to the U.K. zoo, red pandas are naturally solitary animals. Nevertheless, Tilly's care team is monitoring the new mom to ensure she is comfortable parenting independently.
Paradise Wildlife Park/Facebook
"Whilst watching her closely, keepers noticed two weeks after Nam Pang's passing Tilly had begun to nest," the Paradise Wildlife Park shared. "With Red Panda gestation at 132 days, it would have been clear to Nam Pang, Tilly was carrying his cub prior to his passing. This makes this miracle birth even more poignant and heart aching."
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The zoo added that the first six months of life are when red panda cubs are most vulnerable. Baby red pandas begin exploring on their own two to three months after birth.
"This cub has become a symbol of hope, after the tragic passing of Nam Pang, for his memory and legacy to live on is more than we ever expected," Aaron Whitnall, star of the CBBC show One Zoo Three, said in the zoo's statement.
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The IUCN Red List classifies the red panda as an endangered species, with around less than 10,000 remaining in the wild. According to Paradise Wildlife Park, the species is highly threatened due to deforestation and the illegal pet trade.