September 21st, 2017, Manhattan, KS –Manhattan’s Sunset Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a red panda cub. The cub was born on June 20th, 2017 and after a period of observation to ensure safety and health of the cub and mother, the keeper staff is happy to say that the now three month old is doing well and developing very nicely. The cub’s mother Sami (3) is also doing well and is adjusting to life with a cub quickly and easily, as is father Gary (10).
Gary came to the Sunset Zoo from the Cleveland Zoo in 2008. Sami came to the Sunset Zoo from Zoo Boise in 2015, though she originates from the Knoxville Zoo. Sami was brought to Sunset Zoo to breed with Gary as part of a recommendation of the red panda Species Survival Plan. Sunset Zoo works with the Species Survival Plan (SSP) breeding program within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), with a goal of ensuring the long-term genetic and demographic diversity. The SSP ensures the long-term health and survival of captive species, including the red panda.
In the wild, red pandas can range from northern Myanmar (Burma) to the west Provinces of China. They are also found in Nepal, India, and Tibet, where they live in the high altitude forests with bamboo understories in the Himalayas and high mountains. The red panda is currently listed as endangered due to rapid population decline in the last 20 year as an effect of deforestation eliminating their nesting sites and food sources.
Red pandas spend most of their days sleeping in trees and are more active at night. They are herbivores, eating a diet consisting mostly of bamboo. At the Sunset Zoo, the red pandas eat bamboo shoots and leaves throughout the day and also enjoy snacking on fruits such as grapes and apples, all of which is supplemented with leaf-eater biscuits. Adult red pandas can weigh between 8 and 14 pounds, and grow to be 22 to 25 inches in length, plus a tail length of 14 to 18 inches.
Sunset Zoo invites the community to come and view the zoo’s newest addition at the Red Panda exhibit on the Asian trail. Staff would also like visitors to know that while the door to the outdoor exhibit will now be open for the red pandas to come and go as they please, the cub may not venture out of its nest box into the outdoor viewing area during zoo visiting hours. Guests can expect to see Gary as usual.
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