While the temperatures and conditions are still hot and muggy outside, a bit of excitement was also in the air this week! The baby red pandas born on July 5th were due for vaccinations and to determine sex. The babies were sexed as two females, Audra & Lenore! Guests should start to look for them outside with mom close to the middle of October!
The Cincinnati Zoo has a very hands-off protocol with our red panda babies. This particular mother, Lin, is one of the best, most confident mothers we’ve ever had. She currently has 7 offspring and 4 grandbabies scattered around North American Association of Zoo’s & Aquariums (AZA)-accredited zoos. If mothers are attentive, babies are relaxed, robust and content, so there’s no need for their care team to step in and handle the babies until they’re due for their vaccinations and weigh-in. The Cincinnati Zoo has had almost 100 babies born and raised here. Let me assure you, this never gets old!
Training is the new norm in the zoo world and is indescribably important for making animal care teams and animals lives better. Something as simple as asking an animal to voluntarily climb onto a scale is incredibly satisfying to both the keeper and the red panda. Seeing their weights graphed out is extremely important for seeing trends and inconsistencies. Is an animal gaining weight because of a lack of exercise? Is an animal losing weight due to his or her interest in breeding and preparing for young? I am a convert. It’s been shown to me just how much training can improve the lives of zoo residents and animal/keeper relationships.
I’d also like to do a shout-out to the Cincinnati Zoo Horticulture Team! Most Zoo visitors comment on the astounding color and vibrancy of the botanical side of our Zoo. The bamboo selection that is grown around the grounds is a critical part of keeping our red pandas happy and healthy! Bamboo not only produces nice fibrous, firm green stool but also hours of munching and crunching on a natural food source that adds to the wintertime attractiveness of this charismatic species we all love. And remember, you can visit red pandas every 364 days a year at the Cincinnati Zoo! ❤️