Endangered red panda cubs unveiled at Fota Wildlife Park

Fota Wildlife Park has introduced its new twin red panda cubs to the public ahead of International Red Panda Day on Saturday.

The male cubs, born in June, have just begun to leave their nesting box and have been united with their mother Bonnie, aged 6, and father Pete, aged 8.

Red pandas, closely related to raccoons, are an endangered species with only 2,500 left in the wild.

Fota Wildlife Park said the birth of the twin cubs marks their participation in an international breeding programme.

The new arrivals follow a baby boom in the park with four cheetah cubs, Dharma a female Sumatran tiger cub and three Asian lion cubs being born recently.

Members of the public are invited to name the cubs through online submissions on their website.

Lead Ranger Kelly Lambe said: "The twins are still quite shy and are only out for brief periods during the day however, they have started to learn how to climb trees under the watchful eye of their mother Bonnie."

The twin’s older sister Dearg is taking part in a breeding programme in Agrate Zoo Park in Northern Italy to help grow numbers of the endangered species.

Meeko, a 14-month-old brother of the new twins will also move to a specially designed habitat in the Asian Sanctuary.

To celebrate International Red Panda day on Saturday 16th of September Fota Wildlife Park will hold Red Panda themed events across the weekend.

The events have free admission but all proceeds raised will help protect red panda communities in Nepal.

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