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Introducing Phayara, our red panda cub

Our new red panda cub has made her debut. Phayara, named by a public vote, can be seen on exhibit in the Zoo’s Bamboo Trail.
“Since her birth on July 3, Phayara has been in her den growing into a healthy red panda cub and learning the skills needed to navigate her exhibit,” said Karen Rice, carnivore supervisor. “Once she started regularly coming out of her nest box around mid-September, we monitored her to make sure that she was able to negotiate her surroundings and that had the strength needed to climb trees. Once we were confident that she possessed these skills, we were comfortable offering her access to exhibit.”

Like most red pandas, Phayara is shy but curious. She likes exploring her exhibit, running around and chasing first-time mom Qiji around. 

"Qiji has been a great first-time mom,” said Rice. She is very attentive and protective when needed. When Phayara came out of the nest box, mom would spend a lot of time in there with her. Now that Phayara is so active, mom lets her wander around a bit but always seems to be keeping an eye on her.

Following her birth announcement, the Zoo gave the public the opportunity to choose her name through a donation voting system. The winning name Phayara (pronounced fā-yar-a) is a shortened version of the Nepali word Phayraphaska meaning firefox. The contest raised $1,050 for the Red Panda Network, an organization that supports conservation work for the species around the world.

Guests can plan to see all three of the Zoo’s red pandas on exhibit throughout the day. Red pandas are cold tolerant, so they should be out even as temperatures drop during the upcoming cooler months.

Read Phayara's birth announcement

Posted by Nashville Zoo at 11:17 AM