Endangered red panda cub born as Whipsnade Zoo reopened

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Red panda cub Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The red panda cub was born just four days after ZSL Whipsnade Zoo opened following the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures

An endangered red panda cub the size of a human finger has been born at Whipsnade Zoo.

The cub, which is yet to be named, was born at the zoo in Bedfordshire on 19 June – just days after it reopened following the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures.

A spokesman for the zoo said the cub had “grown quickly” to the size of a small puppy.

The cub’s arrival is part of the zoo’s conservation breeding programme.

Image copyright ZSL

Image caption The sex of the red panda cub is yet to be determined

Its mother, Tashi, has birthed seven cubs at the zoo and her newest addition can now be seen by visitors to the attraction.

Red pandas are endangered in the wild “mainly due to habitat destruction”, the Zoological Society of London said.

Their natural habitat is the rainy, mountainous areas of the Himalayas.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo deputy team leader Grant Timberlake said: “Red panda cubs are surprisingly small when they’re first born – about the size of your index finger.

“But the cub has grown quickly and is about the size of a small puppy now: though it will be a full year before the cub reaches adult size.

“It will soon begin testing its incredible climbing skills around its leafy tree-top enclosure – closely guided by mum of course.”

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