Healthy Red Panda Cub Born at Smithsonian

Moonlight, a four-year-old red panda, gave birth to a baby cub in Front Royal, Virginia on June 12. The cub was delivered successfully and weighed six ounces as of June 19. It is reportedly in excellent health.

Red panda cub

Moonlight had two other cubs in 2017, one of whom survived, although the other one passed away shortly after she gave birth. Frank, Moonlight’s mate, was born in 2008, making him significantly older than Moonlight.

Once the mother and cub have bonded, a veterinary exam on the cub can be performed to deduce its sex and a subsequent name. However, in 12 to 18 months, the cub will be separated from its mother.

If the cub is a good genetic match, it will be sent to a different zoo—finding genetic matches for healthy red pandas determines their chance at survival. The species is endangered, with the population dwindling under 10,000. This is due to deforestation around the Eastern Himalayas.

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