Berlin’s Tierpark zoo has welcomed a rare red panda cub. It marks the first time in nine years that the species was born at the zoo.
The reddish-brown cub’s birth came just a few months after its parents were brought to the zoo from India’s Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park in Darjeeling. Zookeepers discovered the baby after its mother, named Shine, had already given birth on June 6. They found the cub hidden away in its mother’s cave.
“We weren’t sure if Shine was really pregnant. But we were hoping for it,” zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaeger told ABC News. “The animals came to Germany only in February, so we didn’t know them too well.”
Jaeger believes the red pandas mated following their arrival at the zoo. Staff members haven’t revealed the baby’s gender and have not named it yet. Patrons will likely be able to see the cub in September. That’s when it’s old enough to leave its mother’s cave and explore the entire compound.
The cub will be the tenth red panda raised in Tierpark zoo thanks to an international conservation breeding program intended to save the endangered species. Red pandas are native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The biggest danger to the species is habitat destruction.
“I’m delighted that the two have settled in so well, “ zoo director Andreas Knieriem said of Shine and her mate Joel. ”And with that cute offspring, we can now raise the awareness of even more people for the protection of this highly endangered species.”
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