03 August 2014
Wildlife experts at the Highland Wildlife Park have announced the birth of red panda twins, a success for the zoo's breeding programme for this 'vulnerable' species. ...
Wildlife experts at the Highland Wildlife Park have announced the birth of red panda twins, a success for the zoo's breeding programme for this 'vulnerable' species.
Kitty, the Park's female red panda gave birth to twins on 15 June, the second successful birth after Kitty's single birth in 2013 (named Kush) became the first red panda to be born in the animal collections of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland for thirteen years.
Douglas Richardson, Head of Living Collections for the Highland Wildlife Park, said: 'We are of course thrilled by the birth of twin red pandas, but it is doubly satisfying as a number of red panda pairs in zoos breed once, then do nothing in subsequent years. The fact that Kitty has produced cubs two years in a row is a very strong indication that our enclosure, diet and husbandry regime suits this pair of pandas.'
It will be a few weeks before Kitty, her mate Kevyn and the unnamed cubs, whose sexes are still unknown, will be on display, as this is a delicate time for both mum and infants. Red panda cubs are born blind, only opening their eyes after about eighteen days.
The Red panda
Red pandas are classified as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature 'Red List' with less than 10,000 individuals thought to remain in the wild. The population is threatened by both deforestation and poaching. The Highland Wildlife Park is part of the European Endangered Species programme that is run by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria
Highland Wildlife Park, Kincraig, Kingussie, Invernesshire PH21 1NL; tel: 01540 651270; website.
(Image copyright Alex Reid)