Perth Zoo Keeper, Marty Boland said: “We were very excited to welcome a new cub to the Zoo family, however it coincides with the rescue of six Red Pandas from wildlife traffickers, emphasizing just how perilous it is out there for these animals. ”
The pandas destined for the illegal wildlife trade were taken into the care of one of Perth Zoo’s conservation partners, Free the Bears, after being seized on the border of Laos and China. Tragically only three of the six survived their first night due to severe stress and potential exposure to disease.
“The recent rescue in Laos highlights how vital coordinated zoo breeding programs are for the survival of this endangered species. It ensures we have an insurance population in place to fight extinction.”
Including the new cub, Perth Zoo has successfully reared 19 Nepalese Red Pandas since 1997.
The two-month old Red Panda was born to 9-year-old mother, Anusha, who was also born at Perth Zoo, and 6-year-old father, Makula, who was born in Canberra.
"Today our veterinarians gave our furry new arrival a quick health check of its body condition, eyes, teeth, ears and weight,” Marty said. “The Perth Zoo team are also consulting with Free the Bears, providing advice on appropriate diets and how to reduce heat stress for the rescued pandas.”
Nepalese Red Pandas are found across the Himalayan Mountain and foothills of India, China, Nepal and Bhutan. Deforestation and illegal poaching continue to be significant threats to remaining populations. Less than 10,000 are thought to remain in the wild.
Apart from coordinated breeding programs, Perth Zoo is committed to saving wildlife and has several conservation partners, including Free the Bears, and an ongoing partnership with TRAFFIC, the international wildlife trade monitoring network. Jointly we help fund a Wildlife Crime Analyst position to fight wildlife trafficking and poaching.
Perth Zoo’s Red Panda cub is expected to emerge from the nest box in April.
Those wanting to help Red Pandas are encouraged to donate to Perth Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Action program which supports organisations including Free the Bears and TRAFFIC, helping protect animals beyond the Zoo’s borders.
More information can be found at: https://perthzoo.wa.gov.au/get-involved/donation-conservation