June 14, 2012
An endangered red panda cub was born at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo on May 31 to first-time mother Xiao (pronounced JOW), age 2, and her 3-year-old mate, Junjie. The cub is one of two in the litter. The second cub did not survive.
Though the cub appears healthy, it faces steep odds to survival. About half of all red panda cubs die within 30 days of birth. Only a few dozen cubs are born in United States zoos each year. This is the first red panda birth here since the zoo began exhibiting red pandas in 1997.
"We are very excited about this birth, and we're cautiously optimistic about the cub's future," said zoo keeper Helena Lacey, who is the red pandas' primary caretaker. "But we know that these next few weeks are critical to the cub's survival."
Contact with Xiao and her cub is extremely limited to minimize stress on the mother. For now, the pathway in front of the red panda exhibit is closed to zoo guests.
Red panda cubs are born blind and deaf. The mother spends nearly all her time nursing and grooming her cubs during the first week. The cubs remain in the nest until they are about 3 months old.
"If the cub survives, zoo guests are not likely to see the cub out in the exhibit for several weeks or months," says Lacey.
The breeding of red pandas is overseen by the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The goal of the SSP is to maximize genetic diversity in captive populations of endangered animals.
Red pandas are native to the forested foothills of the Himalaya Mountains in China and Nepal, where they feed primarily on bamboo. Though they share a name with the famed black-and-white giant pandas, the two are not closely related. The name "panda" comes from the Nepalese word ponya, which means "bamboo-eater."
Zoo closing early Friday
The Australian Adventure closes at noon Friday and the entire zoo closes at 4 p.m. Friday as we prepare for our Zoobilee gala fundraiser.
Kroger and Scott's Zoo Day contribution topped $68,000
Officials from Kroger and Scott's presented zoo Director Jim Anderson with a check for $68,677, the result of the stores' Zoo Week promotions in May. More than $18,000 of that total came from customers like you who donated $1 to vote for Bill the lion, Tengku the orangutan, or Jelani the giraffe as their favorite animal. (Jelani won the competition.)
"We are thrilled with the long tradition of support from Kroger and Scott's," said Anderson. "They are an outstanding community partner."
Since Zoo Week began in 1993, Kroger and Scott's have donated $1,462,571 to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. Thanks to Kroger and Scott's, and to you for participating in Zoo Week!
Bowling for Rhinos June 22
Help save an entire ecosystem while having fun!
Join the Little Turtle Chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers in its annual "Bowling for Rhinos" fundraiser on June 22. One hundred percent of all money donated will go directly to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia (home to the last 47 Javan rhinos in the world) and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia.
Download a registration form (http://www.kidszoo.org/pdfs/BFR_registration_form.pdf) and pledge your support! Register by Friday and receive a free gift.
Claws Paws & Jaws event June 22
Explore the world of predators on land and sea at our special zoo event Claws, Paws, and Jaws on June 22. Enjoy kid-friendly activities from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Pick up a schedule at the zoo gate for details. Activities are free with zoo admission.