Double the Joy! Erie Zoo Welcomes 2 Critically Endangered Red Panda Cubs
A pair of red panda parents are seeing double the joy after welcoming two cubs.
Pennsylvania's Erie Zoo announced on Thursday that its two adult pandas Pumori, 5, and Delilah, 7, welcomed their first litter together — a male cub and a female cub — on July 8, giving fans a peek at the little ones in a video shared on social media.
The little ones are currently being hand-raised by animal specialists after staffers noticed that the cubs were "failing to gain weight naturally" during their first few weeks, according to a spokesperson for the zoo.
"They are doing extremely well," the spokesperson said during the cubs' unveiling on Facebook. "They did just open their eyes within the last week."
The cubs have yet to be named, though Erie Zoological Society President Scott Mitchell told GoErie.com that the wildlife park hopes to have a naming contest for the newborns soon.
"We wanted to make sure they were like a month old, they were still doing fine and still gaining weight," Mitchel said. "They’re doing great."
According to the zoo, Pumori is a genetically valuable male for his species as red pandas are considered critically endangered. He was set up with Delilah, who arrived at the zoo in November, as a part of the park's Red Panda Species Survival Plan.
“It took them some time,” Mitchell told GoErie.com of the adult pandas. “Delilah was a little standoffish at first. In the wild they would be solitary. They would generally only get together to breed and then they would separate and she would have the cubs. It’s not unusual, but it took a little time and then they kind of got to know each other."
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The arrival of the cubs comes just weeks after Ohio's Columbus Zoo welcomed two little red pandas of their own. The pair, also a male and a female, were born on June 13 to 2-year-old mother, Kora, and 7-year-old father, Gen Tso.
"Both are first-time parents and they continue to cohabitate well," the Columbus Zoo wrote of the red panda family on Facebook. "Kora is the primary caregiver, which is customary for red pandas since they are mostly solitary except during breeding season."