Knoxville Zoo Announces the Birth of Red Panda Cubs

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Knoxville Zoo Announces the Birth of Red Panda Cubs

Posted: 07/06/2010
Knoxville Zoo, which ranks as one of the top two zoos in the world in the breeding of endangered red pandas, welcomed two new red panda cubs on June 14, 2010. Born to mother Akkali and father Chewbacca, the two female cubs are very important genetically to the red panda population.

The cubs are being hand-reared in the zoo clinic by keepers due to concerns that they were being groomed too zealously by their mother Akkali, which can result in skin abrasions. At three weeks of age, the cubs are healthy, and zoo staff hopes they will be able to go on view to the public in the next few weeks in The Boyd Family Red Panda Village.

Red pandas are endangered primarily due to destruction of their native habitat, which extends from western Nepal to northern Myanmar. Knoxville Zoo's Red Panda Curator, Sarah Glass, is also the coordinator for the North American Red Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP), which manages the breeding and placement of all red pandas living in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). "We're guardedly optimistic that these cubs will continue to thrive. The first month is the most crucial," says Glass. "These two female cubs will be extremely important due to the fact that their bloodline is not currently wellrepresented, and they will add new genetic diversity to the captive red panda population."

Knoxville Zoo is Knoxville's largest year-round attraction. Located off exit 392A from Interstate 40, the zoo is open every day except Christmas Day. Knoxville Zoo is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is committed to the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation, and education. Currently, the zoo is open daily from 9:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the zoo closes. Next-day admission is free after 3 p.m. For more information, please call 865-637-5331 ext. 300 or visit www.knoxville-zoo.org.