Endangered red panda cub born at Potter Park Zoo
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Red pandas are a little closer to escaping the endangered list thanks to a new arrival at Potter Park Zoo.
Potter Park Zoo’s red panda, Maliha, gave birth to a cub on July 21. Staff have monitored the health of Maliha and her new cub daily through a camera mounted in the nest box where they are both resting. Zoo officials said veterinary staff will continue to conduct regular wellness checks in the coming weeks to monitor his growth and development.
It’s Maliha’s second successful litter with the cub’s father, Deagan-Reid.
“Maliha is doing great, she’s an experienced mother and has been excellent with the newborn,” said Annie Marcum, carnivore area lead keeper. “The cub is actively nursing and growing at a healthy rate.”
Potter Park Zoo officials described the birth as a win for conservation of the endangered species. The male red panda, Deagan-Reid, arrived from the Knoxville Zoo in 2021 as part of a breeding program designed to rescue the red panda, which is the only living member of their taxonomic family.
“Deagan-Reid was paired with Potter Park Zoo female Maliha by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums red panda Species Survival Program, which pair animals based on maintaining genetic diversity,” Potter Park officials said.
The pair have had two successful litters in two years. With fewer than 205 red pandas in AZA institutions, Maliha’s new cub is a valuable addition to the population.
“We’re fortunate to have another successful red panda birth. Having two successful litters back-to-back is a testament to the hard work, planning, and teamwork at the zoo,” said Animal Care Supervisor Pat Fountain. “Introducing another red panda cub to the SSP is crucial for the species moving forward, we’re glad to be a part of the solution.”
Red panda newborns are born deaf and blind. They start out as cubs small enough to fit into your palm. It takes over two weeks for cubs to open their eyes and about two months before they begin exploring the world outside of the nest.
Maliha and her cub will be off exhibit during that crucial developmental time, but updates from the animal care team will be shared on Potter Park Zoo’s social media.
In the meantime, guests who wish to congratulate the new father can visit Deagan-Reid on exhibit.
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