Two red panda cubs were born on June 16 at the Nashville Zoo. The cubs are doing well and bonding with their mother, Mei Mei, in their off-exhibit den.
Animal care staff at the Nashville Zoo added video cameras to Mei Mei’s nest boxes so they would know when she gave birth and could watch for proper care without having to disturb the mother and cubs. The live feed camera is now accessible online offering the public an unobtrusive peek into the red panda den.
Because red pandas are born blind and almost completely immobile, the cubs typically remain in the nest for up to three months. They will open their eyes around one month old but won’t have clear vision until they are a little older. For now, the three-week-old cubs are snug in their nest box with mom and won’t start venturing outdoors until they are more mobile and developed, which is typically around four months old.
Known for their cinnamon colored fur and bushy ringed tail, the red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is native to the mountains of Central China, Nepal and northern Myanmar (Burma). They are considered vulnerable to extinction due to habitat destruction. In addition, slow rates of reproduction and high infant mortality rates make it very hard for this species to rebound from population declines.
Learn more about The Nashville Zoo at nashvillezoo.org.