Potter Park Zoo is excited to share that seven-year-old endangered red panda Maliha is pregnant. The news follows her successful introduction to male Deagan-Reid, who was transferred from Zoo Knoxville earlier this year. The two were observed breeding, and an ultrasound completed by veterinary staff confirmed pregnancy in late May. Maliha also had a litter of cubs in 2016 with a different male.
Maliha participates in her medical care voluntarily, allowing veterinary staff to perform ultrasounds while animal care staff provide positive reinforcement by offering her favorite food items. This allows monitoring of the health of the neonates throughout her pregnancy.
Maliha and Deagan-Reid were recommended for breeding by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Red Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program that pairs individuals with an aim to maximize genetic diversity.
“Maliha’s pregnancy is not only great news for Potter Park Zoo, but for red pandas as an endangered species.”” said Potter Park Zoo Director Cynthia Wagner.
Her new cubs will join a small but valuable population of less than 220 red pandas in AZA institutions across the country. The red panda population continues to decline, with less than 2,500 adult red pandas left in the wild. The species resides in the high altitude, temperate forests of Asia where deforestation is a primary threat.
Nearly 500 animals call Potter Park Zoo home, including critically endangered black rhinos, endangered red pandas, Massasauga rattlesnake and spider monkeys. The zoo is located in Lansing, Michigan and is open 364 days a year. For more information, visit www.potterparkzoo.org.