The Birmingham Zoo is proud to announce the birth of two Red Panda cubs. This is the first litter for mom, Sorrel, 3 years old and dad, Shifu, 4 years old. Born May 30, 2013, the cubs currently are off-exhibit with their mother Sorrel. The breeding that led to this birth is part of the American Zoological Association’s Species Survival Plan®, a nationallycoordinated effort to save threatened and endangered animals from extinction. The Birmingham Zoo has the distinction of having the first set of red panda cubs born in 2013. This was a significant birth for the Birmingham Zoo as red pandas are on the list of threatened species due to loss of habitat, and fewer than 2,500 adult red pandas are left in the world. In the wild, red pandas live in the bamboo forests of China. While they share habitat with the giant panda, the two species are not related. Pictures of the Red Panda cubs can be found on the Zoo’s website and a monitor showing video of the cubs is located at the Red Panda exhibit in the Predator Building.
Red Pandas are quite delicate at birth and stay close to their mothers until they are around 3 months of age. Red panda cubs born in human care have a 50 percent mortality rate; the mortality rate in the wild is unknown. Sorrel is very protective of the cubs and is nursing regularly. This is encouraging and staff is working hard to ensure Sorrel has the resources she needs to care for her new family. As long as things continue to go well, visitors can expect to see the cubs in the fall when they start to venture away from the den.