David Templeman

David Templeman

Minister for the Environment; Climate Change; Peel

    Public light shines on Red Panda cub

    17/03/2008 12:00 AM

    Environment Minister David Templeman visited Perth Zoo today to help unveil another of the zoo’s breeding successes - a tiny endangered Nepalese Red Panda cub - as part of efforts to save the species from extinction.


    The precious female cub, named Roshani, which means ‘light’ in Nepalese,  made her public debut today as she underwent her 12-week vaccination and a health check.


    Perth Zoo senior veterinarian Simone Vitali gave the panda a clean bill of health.


    “She weighs about 900 grams and appears to be in good health, which is great news,” Dr Vitali said.


    “Red Pandas are susceptible to certain domestic cat diseases and we are vaccinating against these today.”


    Born on December 21, the cub spent the first three months of her life inside a nest box and under the protective care of her mother, Chori.


    This is the sixth cub for Chori but is the first for the zoo’s new breeding male, Harley, who arrived at Perth Zoo from Cincinnati Zoo in the United States in 2006 to continue the zoo’s breeding program.


    The Minister said Perth Zoo was part of an Australasian breeding program for the endangered Red Panda.


    “Perth Zoo has successfully bred 12 Red Pandas since 1997, as part of a breeding program to build a sustainable captive population for this species,” Mr Templeman said.


    “Clearing of the Red Panda’s habitat for land and timber has seen their numbers decrease in the wild.”


    Red Pandas prefer the mountainous terrain from Nepal through to north eastern India and Bhutan and into China, Laos and northern Myanmar.  They share part of their range and a bamboo-rich diet with the more recognisable black and white Giant Pandas.


    Deforestation (and the resulting loss of bamboo) for timber, fuel and agriculture is the major cause of the decline in their numbers.


    Background Information:


    ·         The Nepalese Red Panda is classified as endangered, with habitat destruction the major threat to its long-term survival.  The Red Panda’s main predator is the Snow Leopard.


    ·         Nepalese Red Pandas take their name from their deep Mahogany-coloured fur.


    ·         The word Panda is derived from Nepalese ‘nigalya ponya’ meaning ‘bamboo eater’.


    ·         Nepalese Red Pandas are found in the thick steep mountain slopes of China, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Laos and Myanmar.  Their native habitat is in the south eastern Himalayan woodlands and south-western Chinese province of Szechuan.


    ·         Red Pandas are nocturnal so they feed from dusk to dawn then sleep in the crook of a tree or on a tree limb during the day.


    ·         The Red Panda’s main food in the wild is bamboo plus grasses, acorns, roots, berries and lichen. They will also eat insects, eggs, young birds and rodents.  In zoos they eat bamboo and a varied diet of fruit, vegetables and small amounts of meat.


    ·         Like Giant Pandas, Red Pandas have a false thumb, which helps them hold bamboo stems and leaves. They also have partially retractable claws and are very good climbers.


    ·         Red Pandas mature sexually at 18-20 months.


    ·         The gestation period for a Red Panda can range from 110 to 145 days (three to five months).


    ·         Perth Zoo has had significant breeding success with Red Pandas.  The zoo has successfully bred 12 Red Pandas since 1997.  Once old enough, cubs are moved to other zoos in the region to assist in other breeding programs.


    Minister's office -  9220 5050