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Kiki Makes Her Debut!

Red Panda Cub

Posted September 2019

Just in time for International Red Panda Day* (Saturday, Sept. 21), the Milwaukee County Zoo’s newest red panda cub, Kiki, made her official debut Friday, Sept. 20, for the media and visitors! 

Red Panda Kiki 2 weeks of age

Kiki was born June 7 to mother, Dr. Erin Curry, and father, Dash. The pair’s second cub, she is part of the Red Panda Species Survival Plan® (SSP), which helps to maintain genetic diversity within red panda populations in AZA-accredited zoos. Dr. Erin has again proven to be a very vigilant mother and Kiki is developing as expected.

Dr. E. and Dash had their first cub (the first born at MCZ), Dr. Lily Parkinson, in June 2018. Zookeepers learned a lot from Dr. E.’s first pregnancy, including that she’s a very good mother. Mom and cub have remained off exhibit until now, in a quiet area, complete with a nest box, where keepers could monitor the pair closely.

Red pandas are attentive mothers both in the wild and in a zoo setting. Mothers keep the cubs hidden in a nest for the first 2-3 months of life.

Red Panda Kiki 3 weeks of age

Kiki now relies on mom for milk, nursing for the first 13-22 weeks of life. 

At 4-6 months, Kiki will begin to wean from mom, and keepers will start to introduce solid food to her, softened in water.  She’ll be with Dr. E. for the first year of life, following her around the habitat and learning how to climb.

At 2-days-old, Kiki weighed 160 grams, which is about the weight of a banana. She’s grown substantially, and at her most recent weighing Sept. 4, she was ~6.1 pounds. On average, adult red pandas weigh between 6 -14 pounds.

Red Panda Kiki 4.5 weeks of age

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. Reliable population numbers are difficult to find due to the pandas’ secretive nature, but it is estimated that only about 2,500 individuals exist in the wild. Because of this low number, every red panda birth is significant.

After today, she’ll have exhibit access from 9 a.m. until noon daily, with the option of going into her off-exhibit area. Time on exhibit will increase as she gets acclimated.

Click on the thumbnails below to browse through photos.

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*Red Panda Network: Raises awareness in red pandas and the importance of their conservation. redpandanetwork.org