GREENSBORO, N.C. — We've got a cute alert for you.
The Greensboro Science Center announced the birth of an endangered red panda cub. The cub, named Ravi, was born overnight, June 19-20, to red panda mom and dad Usha and Tai.
The center said the cub's birth is so special because it is the first successful red panda cub birth at the GSC.
Ravi's parents were recommended for breeding by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Program.
Ravi is being hand-reared behind the scenes by the center's animal care team in order to provide the best chance for survival.
"The decision to hand-rear was made in conjunction with the SSP coordinators due to Usha's history," said Jessica Hoffman, the GSC’s VP of Animal Care and Welfare. "Pandas in both the wild and in human care unfortunately occasionally kill their cubs - something Usha has done in the past. This was a risk we did not want to take."
The center said mom and dad red panda are doing well. The pair may be seen during GSC's operational hours, but zookeepers note that they will have access to their behind-the-scenes den boxes for several weeks.
The GSC’s CEO, Glenn Dobrogosz, says the new red panda habitat in Revolution Ridge was designed and built with an exclusive focus on endangered species breeding programs. The new panda habitat is approximately ten times the size of their former exhibit and includes two outdoor areas connected by overhead mesh tunnels, a muraled indoor habitat, indoor holding spaces and a side yard providing space for a large panda family group.
Dobrogosz said, "Revolution Ridge has only been open a year and we are already starting to see intended results. The birth of our new red panda sparks the beginning of what we hope will become breeding success with cassowaries, pygmy hippos, fishing cats, sand cats, servals, black-footed cats and more. Breeding success for rare and endangered species is a core mission goal of the GSC and AZA."