Ahead of Saturday’s International Red Panda Day, Fota Wildlife Park in Cork has revealed a red panda cub made its grand arrival in June, becoming just the second to be born in the park in 21 years.
The three-month-old cub — whose sex has yet to be determined — was, until this week, inside a panda house with its mother, but has now begun to venture outside to be seen by visitors to the park.
It’s the first cub for three-year-old Bonnie — who originally came from Dublin Zoo — and dad Pete, aged five.
Lead warden at the park, Kelly Lambe, said her team has, from a distance, been monitoring progress over the last few weeks.
“This gave them time to bond, which has resulted in the cub now being able to come out on its own, which is great,” said Kelly.
The red panda is native to the Himalayas and found in Bhutan, southern China, Pakistan, India, Laos, Nepal, and Burma. Also called the firefox or lesser panda, it is a mostly herbivorous mammal, and favours bamboo as a main food choice.
To mark the new cub’s arrival and Saturday’s international day, Fota Wildlife Park is looking for a name for the cub via its website.
The person with the best name for the cub will be treated to a VIP behind-the-scenes tour and annual membership of the park.
The cub is the latest arrival at Fota and follows giraffes Fada and Cuileann earlier this year, warty pig Samira last year, bison calves Higgs, Bressie and Tyson, and Zedward the zebra foal in 2012.
Fota Wildlife Park will also be celebrating the first birthday of ROG the cheetah with a special birthday party at 2pm this Saturday. Full details of the birthday party and International Red Panda Day can be found on Fota Wildlife Park’s Facebook page.
To enter the competition to name the new red panda cub, visit fotawildlife.ie/babypanda before Friday, September 26.