BRONX, NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 8- Four red panda cubs are debuting at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo and Prospect Park Zoo.
Two cubs are at the Himalayan Highlands at the Bronx Zoo and two are at Discovery Trail at the Prospect Park Zoo.
Both litters consist of a male and female and were born this summer.
WCS has a successful history breeding red pandas at the Bronx, Central Park and Prospect Park Zoos as part of the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums designed to enhance the genetic viability and demographic stability of animal populations in accredited zoos.
Red pandas are native to Nepal, India, Bhutan, China, and Myanmar. The subspecies of red panda at the Bronx Zoo (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) is found in the western part of their Himalayan range. The Prospect Park pandas (Ailurus fulgens refulgens) are a subspecies from the eastern portion of the range and are characteristically darker in color and slightly larger.
Panda cubs are born with a very soft, plush coat. They reach adulthood at around 18 months.
Adult red pandas have reddish-brown and black coats that serve as camouflage in the wild. They have an adaptation on their wrists much like a thumb that enables them to grasp food items like bamboo as well as tree branches.
The species is listed as “Vulnerable” by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to habitat loss caused by deforestation for timber, fuel and agricultural use. Their population is declining. WCS works in China and Myanmar to save red pandas and other Asian wildlife.