The two red panda cubs, Pabu and Roji, born last summer at Potter Park Zoo will soon be moving to a new home in Massachusetts.
“The Capron Zoo in Attleboro, Massachusetts has built a new facility for red panda and their team is very excited about the addition of Pabu and Roji,” said Potter Park Zoo General Curator Sarah Pechtel. “The cubs have been very popular here at Potter Park Zoo. We wanted to let the community know they would be moving so people would have a chance to stop in and see them before they leave.”
The pair were born July 2, 2016 to first time mother Maliha and father Rupert Jr. This successful breeding was the result of many years of effort on the part of the Potter Park Zoo team, including the construction of a new, expanded exhibit for red panda. The exhibit was sponsored by a donation from Jeff and David Williams of Williams AutoWorld.
“The keepers will miss the playfulness of these cubs, but the entire team is pleased with the success of our efforts,” said Pechtel. “We have been effective in helping to sustain the red panda population and that was our goal.”
Red pandas are solitary in the wild, only rarely living in pairs and coming together for breeding. Females raise their cubs and urge them to go off on their own when they are old enough to survive which is typically around the next breeding season.
Pechtel said the animal care team is hoping to have another opportunity to breed Maliha and Rupert Jr. as soon as next year. The pair are part of the Red Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Breeding recommendations come to the zoo from this group of experts. There are over 170 SSPs that, throughout the accredited zoo community, work to maintain healthy and genetically diverse populations of animals facing extinction in the wild.
Red panda are native to Asia, from Nepal to the Sichuan province in China and are currently endangered. To learn more about the red panda and conservation efforts on their behalf, visit www.redpandanetwork.org.