Posted September 2018
The new female red panda cub, Dr. Lily Parkinson, born June 6, is named after the Zoo’s recent veterinarian resident, Dr. Lily Parkinson, who was the first to discover the cub through an ultrasound on mother, Dr. Erin Curry. Dr. Lily is the first cub for mother, Dr. Erin Curry, also known as Dr. E., and father, Dash.
Moving forward, visitors will be able to see Dr. Lily on outdoor exhibit; in warmer temperatures she has access to a cooler, off-exhibit area. During the morning hours, she is a bit more active and can be seen moving about her exhibit with mom and dad!
Red pandas are easily identifiable by their reddish-brown color, white face markings and speckling of black around their ears and legs. They begin to get adult coloration around 50 days old, which acts as a camouflage. The fur covering their bodies also covers the pads on their feet. This helps red pandas keep the heat in their bodies during the cold winter months.
Zookeepers report that Dr. Lily is doing very well and first-time mother, Dr. E, is doing a great job raising her first cub. Blind for the first 21-to-31 days after birth, mothers keep cubs hidden in nests for the first 2 or 3 months. Dr. Lily has relied on mom for milk, and will stay with her mother for the first year of life where she’ll learn how to climb and hunt. She is also eating bamboo and tasting biscuits and other food.
Red pandas rely on bamboo for most of their diet, specifically the most tender, young shoots and leaves. But, they are only able to extract one-fourth of the nutrients from the bamboo. So, red pandas spend up to 13 hours a day searching for and eating bamboo. During the summer months, they supplement their diet with fruit and insects.
Adult red pandas weigh up to 14 pounds and are around 2 feet-long. But, their tails add extra length, up to 18-inches! Dr. Lily weighed 166 grams at 3 days old and could fit in the palms of her keepers! She is now about 7 pounds and keepers say it takes both hands to pick her up.
In the wild, red pandas live in the mountains of Nepal, northern Myanmar and central China. Red pandas are considered endangered due to deforestation, poaching and trapping. With an estimated adult population less than 2,500 and an approximate mortality rate of 86 percent, makes every red panda birth very important.