Endangered red panda cub born at Michigan zoo

Endangered red panda cub born at Michigan zoo

Potter Park's red panda couple Maliha and Deagan-Reid give birth to a red panda. The birth is very significant for the endangered red panda species.

Cover Image Source: WILX 10

Potter Park Zoo of Lansing, Michigan, reported that its red panda couple—female Maliha and male Deagan-Reid—had a male cub on July 21, 2022. This is a very ecologically significant birth since there are only 205 red pandas in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facilities and less than 10,000 in the wild. Thanks to this newest visitor at Potter Park Zoo, red pandas have taken one step away from the endangered list.



Using a webcam put in the nest box where the mother-child duo are resting, the staff has been observing Maliha and her infant cub's condition daily. In the upcoming weeks, veterinary professionals will do frequent wellness checks to track the cub's growth and development, according to zoo authorities.

Maliha has had her second successful litter with the cub's father. "Maliha is doing fantastic; she's an experienced mother now, who did an outstanding job with the infant," said Annie Marcum, lead keeper of the carnivore area. "The cub is breastfeeding enthusiastically and developing at a good pace."



Authorities at Potter Park Zoo heralded the birth as a victory for endangered species conservation efforts. Deagan-Reid, the male red panda, was brought from the Knoxville Zoo in 2021 as part of a breeding programme to save the red panda, the sole living member of its taxonomic group.

“Deagan-Reid was paired with Potter Park Zoo female Maliha by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums red panda Species Survival Program, which pair animals based on maintaining genetic diversity,” Potter Park officials told WILX News 10.

“We’re fortunate to have another successful red panda birth. Having two successful litters back-to-back is a testament to the hard work, planning, and teamwork at the zoo,” said Animal Care Supervisor, Pat Fountain. 
“Introducing another red panda cub to the SSP is crucial for the species moving forward, we’re glad to be a part of the solution,” he said.

Infant red pandas are born deaf and blind. They begin as cubs tiny enough just to fit the palm of your hand. It takes almost two weeks for cubs to open their eyes and another 2 months for them to venture outside of the nest.



Maliha and her youngster will be removed from the exhibit during this critical period, but reports from the animal care staff will be provided on Potter Park Zoo's social media. In the meanwhile, those who want to celebrate the newborn may visit the new father on display.