Fota animal park unveils baby twin red pandas

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Fota Wildlife Park in Co Cork has unveiled baby twin red pandas born in June who have just started to emerge from their nest boxes in their Asian sanctuary habitat.

The red panda is classified as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. There are less than 2,500 individuals left in the wild. International Red Panda Day takes place on the third Saturday in September each year and aims to raise awareness, educate and fundraise to help conserve this endangered species.

Photography: Fota Animal Park

The chief park ranger Julien Fonteneau said he was delighted to be able to announce the birth of the twins.

“The red panda is definitely one of the public’s favorite species. These births give us the opportunity to shine a light on the conversation work we do, such as our financial support for the Red Panda Forest Guardian Project in Nepal, a citizen program dedicated to the conservation of red pandas in their natural habitat in Nepal.

He continued; “The weather has been nice and balmy recently, so after their first months of sleeping and feeding, they are now starting to emerge from their nest box, which is visible to the public in the red panda habitat.”

A unique species, the red panda is closely related to raccoons and coatimundis. It is often referred to as a firefox or little panda and is up to 120cm long, including an impressive tail that can grow up to 60cm long. It forages among the branches of trees but also eats fruits, insects and small animals.

Fota Wildlife Park, a conservation charity, has set up an online reservation system to securely manage the number of entries into the park. The park is asking the public to help name the cubs at www.fotawildlife.ie/blog.


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