RZSS Highland Wildlife Park were delighted to share news that female red panda Kitty gave birth to two kits last month.
Born on the 14th of June, the new arrivals are currently around the same size as a hamster, but when fully grown will be slightly bigger than the average domestic cat. Visitors hoping to see the twin red pandas will not be able to do so until September however, when they will start to venture out of the den.
Douglas Richardson, Head of Living Collections at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said:
“This is our third litter of red pandas from Kevyn and Kitty, the previous kits being born in 2013 and 2014.
“Our red pandas are part of the global captive breeding programme that is managed out of Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands. The primary roles of the zoo pandas are to act as a safety net population should the species become extinct in the wild and to potentially provide animals for reintroduction.”
Red pandas are found in the mountains and high-altitude forests of Nepal, northern Myanmar and central China and are actually more at risk in the wild than their namesake the giant panda. It is hoped that the conservation efforts that helped the giant panda move from endangered to vulnerable will do the same for the red panda. Estimates suggest that the global population of the red panda is fewer than 10,000 in the wild due to habitat loss and poaching.
Highlands Wildlife Park is open from 10am to 6pm during summer months. For more information on visiting go to www.highlandwildlifepark.org.uk