NORFOLK, VA – The Virginia Zoo welcomes three red panda cubs to mom, three-year-old Masu and dad, four-year-old Timur. The cubs, two males and one female, were born off-exhibit at the Zoo’s Animal Wellness Campus on June 18, 2019. Red panda cubs weigh approximately five ounces at birth, but now weigh in at 500-600 grams, or just over a pound.
“Having red panda triplets is a unique situation,” said Dr. Colleen Clabbers, the Zoo’s Veterinarian. “It’s a lot of work for mom to care for three newborns, but Masu is doing a great job caring for the triplets and all three have been thriving.”
Masu gave birth in an indoor, climate-controlled den where she has been nursing and bonding with her cubs in a quiet environment. The den is off view to the public and is monitored by Zoo Keepers and Animal Care Staff. Masu and the cubs will make their way to the original Red panda exhibit off the main pathway later this fall when Keepers feel they can confidently navigate the trees and other exhibit features.
“Our Animal Care team had a great strategy last year in moving Masu to the Animal Wellness Campus while she was still pregnant, providing privacy for her first birth experience. She took great care of her cubs last year, which is why we opted to do the same thing again this time around,” said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo. “We’re excited to introduce Masu and the triplets to the public this fall!”
The Virginia Zoo is auctioning naming rights of the cubs in support of red panda conservation. The public can place bids on each of the cubs’ names through August 30. To place yours, visit https://one.bidpal.net/redpandas/welcome
About Red pandas
Red pandas are tree-dwelling animals native to the eastern Himalayas, in suitable habitat in Myanmar, Nepal, India, Bhutan, Tibet and China. While they share the same name as giant pandas, the two species are not closely related. Red pandas are the only living member of their taxonomic family. Slightly larger than a domestic cat and with markings similar to a raccoon, Red pandas have soft, dense reddish-brown and white fur. They feed mainly on bamboo, but also various plant shoots, leaves, fruit and insects. Red pandas are shy and solitary except when mating or raising offspring.
About the Virginia Zoo
The Virginia Zoo, located in Norfolk, Virginia, is home to more than 700 exceptional animals representing over 100 fascinating species. Founded in 1901 and residing on 53 beautifully landscaped acres, the Virginia Zoo has demonstrated a commitment to saving and protecting the world’s wildlife by inspiring a passion for nature and taking conservation action at home and around the world. The Virginia Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is recognized as a global leader in education, recreation, science, wildlife conservation, and animal care and welfare. For more than a century, the Zoo has connected adults, families and school children with the natural world and its wildlife. To learn more, visit www.virginiazoo.org.