FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
Four-week-old Endangered Red Panda Makes History as the First Cub Born at the San Diego Zoo in Almost 2 Decades
SAN DIEGO (July 7, 2023) – In the mid-morning hours of July 6, 2023, guests to the San Diego Zoo were treated to a rare and remarkable sight. Red panda Adira entered her outdoor habitat in the Zoo’s Asian Passage with someone new: her small and curious 1-month-old cub. This milestone was immensely significant, as the new cub is the first red panda born at the Zoo since 2006, and this marked the first time staff and guests were able to get a glimpse of the youngster outside its den.
The not-yet-named cub was born on June 9 to first-time parents Adira and Lucas. Over the past month, mom and her cub have stayed secluded in their den— mostly eating and sleeping, with mom venturing out only sporadically. Newborn red panda cubs tend to nurse from their mother for about 13 to 22 weeks. At 6 to 7 weeks of age, cubs naturally become more active, and begin exploring their surroundings. They normally remain in their den with mom until they are about 3 months old.
“The birth of any animal is always an emotional experience, but for a species that hasn’t conceived in so long, this moment is even more remarkable,” said Erika Kohler, senior vice president & executive director of the San Diego Zoo. “Every birth carries so much weight, so this cub provides hope for everyone working to save this important Asian species.”
Over the past 50 years, the global population of red pandas has dwindled by as much as 40 percent, and the species is now listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. Red pandas face a myriad of threats, including habitat loss and degradation related to increased human encroachment and climate change.
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance partners with the nonprofit Red Panda Network to identify unprotected red panda habitat and train “forest guardians,” who monitor the health of the forest and work with the local communities to preserve and protect it. Red Panda Network staff provide awareness-building workshops in local villages where red pandas live in Nepal. Through these vital projects, team members closely monitor red panda populations to enable conservation efforts and help establish new, secure areas for the species.
“San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s work in Asia is focused on the illegal wildlife trade and reducing the demand for wildlife products. This is essential for conserving the unique species that call that region home,” Dr. Nadine Lamberski, chief conservation and wildlife health officer, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance explained. “Good news, such as the birth of this new red panda cub, raises awareness of the threats to wildlife and what we can do to safeguard biodiverse ecosystems for future generations. “
About San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is a nonprofit international conservation leader, committed to inspiring a passion for nature and working toward a world where all life thrives. The Alliance empowers people from around the globe to support their mission to conserve wildlife through innovation and partnerships. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance supports cutting-edge conservation and brings the stories of their work back to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park—giving millions of guests, in person and virtually, the opportunity to experience conservation in action. The work of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance extends from San Diego to eco-regional conservation “hubs” across the globe, where their expertise and assets—including the renowned Wildlife Biodiversity Bank—are able to effectively align with hundreds of regional partners to improve outcomes for wildlife in more coordinated efforts. By leveraging these skills in wildlife care and conservation science, and through collaboration with hundreds of partners, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has reintroduced more than 44 endangered species to native habitats. Each year, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s work reaches over 1 billion people in 150 countries via news media, social media, their websites, educational resources and the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Explorers television programming, which is in children’s hospitals in 13 countries. Success is made possible by the support of members, donors and guests to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, who are Wildlife Allies committed to ensuring all life thrives.
- B-roll of not-yet-named, 1-month-old, endangered red panda cub, and his mom, Adira, in their Asian Passage habitat at the San Diego Zoo