Red panda cubs in a happy ‘huff’

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Two rare red panda ba­bies have been born at Auck­land Zoo.

The twins, who are yet to be named, ar­rived in the world on Jan­uary 3 each weigh­ing about 100 grams.

They are the sec­ond and third cubs born to 4-year-old mum Bo and 13-year-old Sa­gar, who also have a boy named Pabu. He was born just over a year ago.

The zoo says the new cubs are yet to be named or sexed, but are an ex­tremely valu­able ad­di­tion to the in­ter­na­tional breed­ing pro­gramme for the threat­ened species.

‘‘We’re de­lighted Bo has had two healthy cubs and she’s prov­ing once again to be such a con­fi­dent and at­ten­tive mother,’’ act­ing car­ni­vore team leader Lauren Booth says.

The zoo team have checked and weighed the cubs but are try­ing to re­main hands-off.

‘‘They have now opened their eyes and are mov­ing about in the nest box a lit­tle more, and will some­times ‘huff’ at us,’’ she says.

‘‘Their weights have shot up to 403 grams and 423 grams re­spec­tively – above av­er­age, so we know they’re eat­ing plenty, but they still have a lot more grow­ing to do!’’

Ms Booth says the cubs will also even­tu­ally leave Auck­land to con­trib­ute to the in­ter­na­tional breed­ing pro­gramme.

Pabu will re­lo­cate to an Aus­tralian zoo within the next six months.

Visi­tors to Auck­land Zoo will be able to catch the cubs’ par­ents and older brother out on dis­play.

But the cubs are not ex­pected to ven­ture out of their nest box un­til they are at least 12 weeks old, some­time in March.

Their sex will be con­firmed in early March when they have their first vet check.

Dou­ble trou­ble: The Nepalese red panda cubs born at Auck­land Zoo.

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