OKLAHOMA CITY – Visitors to the Oklahoma City Zoo will soon be able to see a couple of adorable new faces in the Sanctuary Asia habitat.
Zoo officials announced that two healthy red panda cubs were born on June 2 at the zoo’s red panda habitat.
Caretakers say the first-time mother, 5-year-old Leela, is demonstrating appropriate maternal behaviors to the male and female cubs.
At birth, the male weighed 119 grams and the female weighed 124 grams. By June 18, both cubs had more than doubled their birth weights.
“We are so excited to welcome these adorable red panda cubs to the Zoo’s animal family and are beyond thrilled that Leela is such a nurturing mother,” said Tyler Boyd, OKC Zoo Curator of Carnivores and Hoofstock. “While we don’t yet know when the cubs will be on public view, mom and her offspring are doing well and bonding behind-the-scenes at their habitat.”
Now, officials at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden are asking for the public’s help naming the cubs.
For the male cub, the options are:
- Ravi (Nepalese for sun)
- Tau (Nepalese for handsome)
- Jetsun (Buddist reverend from Tibet.)
For the female cub, the options are:
- Nima (Nepalese for small)
- Mohu (Nepalese for cloudy)
- Khyana (Nepalese for light.)
An online vote will determine the cubs’ names. Voting is open until Friday, July 5 and the winning name will be revealed on the zoo’s Facebook page on Monday, July 8.
Red pandas are listed as an endangered species, and only about 10,000 remain in the wild. Their habitats in remote areas of the Himalayan Mountains from Nepal to central China are being threatened by deforestation, agriculture, cattle grazing and competition for resources.
Red pandas grow to be the size of the typical house cat.