OKC ZOO ANNOUNCES BIRTHS OF RED PANDA CUBS
July 07, 2016
The July 4th holiday weekend brought the arrival of two red panda cubs to the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. The cubs were born inside the red panda habitat on Sunday, July 3, to mom Jaya, 9, and dad Lhotse, 2. On Wednesday, July 6, the animal care team discovered one of the cubs was not thriving and transported it to the Zoo’s Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital. The veterinary team provided immediate medical care but, sadly, the cub did not survive.
Jaya has stayed close to the surviving, healthy cub since birth and its sex has not been determined. The cub is Jaya’s fifth offspring since coming to the Zoo in 2011 from the Cape May County Park & Zoo in New Jersey and the first offspring for Lhotse, who was born at the Erie Zoo in Pennsylvania and came to the Zoo in 2015.
“We are saddened by the loss of one of Jaya’s cubs, but thrilled that the surviving cub is healthy and receiving great maternal care from Jaya,” said Nate Strong, animal supervisor. “We will give the cub plenty of time to bond with mom and gain weight, and transition from nursing to eating solid foods.”
Typically, red pandas require three to four months to mature and begin exploring more of their habitat. Consequently, the red pandas will not be visible and the outside yard will be empty during this bonding phase. As cooler weather comes in the fall, the cub, Jaya and Lhotse may be more inclined to be outside in the habitat, located across from the Zoo’s Endangered Species Carousel.
The cub is the fifteenth cub born at the Zoo since its red panda program began in 1988. The Zoo participates in the Red Panda Species Survival Plan, developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) as a cooperative effort among AZA-accredited zoos throughout North America to help promote genetic diversity through species management. The red panda is listed as an endangered species. Only an estimated 10,000 remain in the wild, and their habitats in remote areas of the Himalayan Mountains, from Nepal to Southern China, are being threatened by deforestation, agriculture, cattle grazing and competition for resources.
Although the word “panda” brings to mind the popular black-and-white giant panda species, red pandas are in a family all their own. While giant pandas are in the bear family, red pandas have not yet been formally classified into a mammal group. Theories suggest such relatives as raccoons or skunks.
Experience a summer adventure in awe with a visit to the OKC Zoo! The Oklahoma City Zoo is a proud Adventure Road partner and member of Oklahoma City’s Adventure District located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Buildings close at 4:45 p.m. daily. Regular admission is $8 for adults, and $5 for children 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Are you a Zoo fan? Find us at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit www.okczoo.org.
Photo credit: Erica McCoy, taken during cub’s wellness check.