Adorable Alert, Buttonwood Zoo Welcomes Endangered Red Panda Cubs
There are two new adorable faces at Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford.
The zoo's female red panda Marie gave birth to two cubs on May 27, 2023, making this only the second successful time in the zoo's 129 year history that baby red pandas were born in New Bedford.
Now staff are officially debuting their tiny, fuzzy faces to the public.
The cub's sex and names have not been revealed, but there is certainly a "big" sibling in the family. One new baby weighed in at 58 grams at birth and the other was 127 grams when born.
Just one month from their birth day, there is still definitely a size difference between them.
But health wise, they are both doing very well and are currently behind the scenes at the zoo bonding with their mom Marie.
Zoo staff say the cubs will remain in a nest box inside the red panda's night house for approximately the next two months at which time they should also get their namesake red coloring. Both cubs will need to stay with their mother for at least a year.
Red panda cubs are born basically helpless with their eyes closed for nearly the first 20 days of their life. Both these cubs have now opened their eyes and are said to be exploring their nest box more each day.
Once they can safely navigate the perching in their habitat they will be able to venture outside where more guests can see them. For now however, the zoo has a unique opportunity for people to get a sneak peek through the "Red Panda Pals" program.
For a $50 donation, you can join the program that grants you behind the scenes access to the new babies through photos and videos provided by the zoo. Those in the program not only get to watch these newborns grow, they'll have a chance to submit a name suggestion for them, get a limited-edition symbolic adoption package and even have a chance to meet the cubs once they join their parents in the outdoor habitat.
Red pandas are on the endangered species list with numbers declining in the wild as habitats disappear.
Marie and the cubs father, BPZoo's six-year-old red panda Jacob, were brought to the New Bedford zoo as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP).
Welcoming two new red panda cubs to the world is a great step in helping these adorable animal's numbers grow again.