Perth Zoo Keepers were delighted to find that Christmas had arrived early with the birth of four rare animals, twin Red Panda cubs and twin Binturong kits.

Perth Zoo Keeper Marty Boland said: “It’s double the cuteness for both species, but also an important win for the coordinated breeding programs for the endangered Red Panda and vulnerable Binturong.”

“These early Christmas gifts are the result of careful matchmaking and animal care.”

The Red Panda twins were born on 2 December to first-time mum, Maiya, and dad, Sombaar. The pair were introduced at Perth Zoo late last year after two-year-old Maiya arrived from Taronga Zoo, Sydney, and six-year-old Sombaar came from the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra.

“Maiya is doing an excellent job as a first-time mum and she will keep the cubs tucked in their nest box for the next couple of months,” Marty said.

“It’s been a surprisingly hot summer, but we keep the nest box insulated with ice so the pandas stay cool throughout the season.”

There are estimated to be fewer than 10,000 endangered Nepalese Red Pandas remaining in the wild. They’re threatened by deforestation, poaching and the illegal pet trade.

“Their fragmented habitats mean that a lot of breeding opportunities in the wild are missed so the Zoo breeding program is important to create an insurance population against extinction,” Marty said.

In a shared exhibit with the Zoo’s otters, twin Binturong kits were born on December 9th. They are the second litter for mum, Selasa, and father, Rabu, who both arrived from Singapore in 2016.

“Like the pandas, the kits will also remain in their nest box for the first few months, but visitors can still enjoy watching them from the display window on the CCTV cameras that have been installed,” Marty said.

“Selasa is being a very attentive mother and is allowing us to photograph the cubs as they grow.”  

The Binturong, also known as an Asian bear-cat, is a unique species found throughout Southeast Asia, in Malaysia, Indonesia and Palawan Island. They are threatened by the destruction of their habitat and poaching for use of their body parts in traditional medicines.

Visitors looking to celebrate Perth Zoo’s new arrivals could consider a Christmas donation or a Wild Art purchase that supports conservation projects.

Thanks to the generosity of the public, Perth Zoo supports vital field work to save wildlife, including the Red Panda Network who train Forest Guardians to protect Red Pandas in their wild habitat.