The new additions are among the fewer than 220 red pandas at accredited institutions across the United States

By Nicholas Rice
July 13, 2021 10:00 PM
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red panda cubs
Credit: Courtesy Potter Park Zoo

The Potter Park Zoo has welcomed two new additions to its animal family!

On July 4, a pair of red panda cubs were born in the early morning hours at the Lansing, Michigan, zoo, according to a news release.

Born to mother Maliha and father Deagan-Reid, the tiny red pandas — who are without names for the time being — are currently "resting in an off-exhibit nest box under their mother's care," the zoo said.

Veterinary staff at the facility will watch over the new additions, checking on their weight and health in the weeks to come. They will monitor their growth and how they develop through a camera mounted in the nest box, staff added.

red panda cubs
Credit: Courtesy Potter Park Zoo

"It's a special privilege to welcome red panda cubs, and we are all thrilled," Liz Jagenow, Maliha's primary trainer, said. "Maliha has proven to be an attentive mother and we are confident the cubs are in good hands".

The recent births mark Maliha's second litter. The animal previously welcomed two cubs with a different male in 2016.

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The new cub's father, Deagan-Reid, arrived from Zoo Knoxville earlier this year. The two animals mated shortly after his arrival.

In both instances, Maliha's pairings were recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for red pandas, "which matches animals carefully by genetic profile," according to the Potter Park Zoo.

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Red panda newborns are deaf, blind and can fit into an average adult's palm, the zoo said.

They won't open their eyes until they're a minimum of 2 weeks old, and they'll begin to venture out of their nests when they are about 1 month old, the facility added.

"Maliha and the cubs are part of a much larger picture," said Cindy Wagner, zoo director. "Potter Park and other AZA-accredited zoos work in close cooperation to maintain a healthy red panda lineage, and these births are the result of careful planning and preparation."

The new babies are among fewer than 220 red pandas at accredited institutions across the United States, the Potter Park Zoo notes.