Baby red panda named after competition

A baby red panda at Fota Wildlife Park in Cork has been given an Irish name - Rua - meaning "red".

The name was decided after 542 suggestions from the public.

Rua, who was born on July 8 is the first Red Panda born in the park since June 1993, is said to be thriving in his home at the incubation house.

The birth came as a welcome surprise according to the park's director Sean McKeown.

"The male red panda Bamboo who is 15 years old is one of the oldest red panda in Europe to breed, was due to go on retirement to the continent with the female Binthy who came from the Netherlands in Oct 2008 to be paired with a new male from Germany, however these moves will now be reviewed given the successful breeding," he said.

The birth of the cub has proven difficult for its four-year-old mother, according to Mr McKeown.

"Unfortunately Binthy was unable to produce enough milk for the cub, as a result we took it into care to make sure it got enough nourishment to enable it to survive and we are now feeding her every four hours and the good news is that she is doing very well."

The red panda is not the only new addition at the park, visitors now have the opportunity to see the first phase of the new development with the park's new plaza now open.

The entry plaza comprises of new ticket kiosks, playground, gift store and cafe all of which are now open to the public.


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