Seeing red: Michigan zoo welcomes red panda cub

LANSING, Mich. — A zoo in Michigan has a tiny, fluffy, squeaking new arrival.

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An endangered red panda cub was born July 21 at Potter Park Zoo, the zoo said in a news release. This is the second successful litter that the zoo’s female red panda, Mahila, has birthed.

“Mahila is doing great, she’s an experienced mother and has been excellent with the newborn,” Annie Marcum, a keeper at the zoo, said in a statement. “The cub is actively nursing and growing at a healthy rate.”

The cub, which was born blind, deaf, and small enough to fit in the palm of one hand, is being monitored with Mahila through a camera in their nest box, MLive reported.

The zoo shared video on Instagram showing the tiny cub being weighed by a veterinarian. Veterinary staff will continue to monitor the baby’s growth and development in the coming weeks, WILX reported.

Red pandas are endangered, and researchers believe that the total population of red pandas has declined by 40% over the last 20 years, according to Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Red pandas are threatened by habitat loss and poaching.

The newborn cub is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ red panda species survival program, which works to add to the population of red pandas, the zoo said in its news release. There are fewer than 205 red pandas in AZA institutions.

Mahila and her cub will be off exhibit, with the zoo saying it could take two months before the cub is ready to leave its nest, WXMI reported.