Nashville Zoo’s four-month-old red panda cubs are beginning to explore their habitat giving guests a chance to see the two young females along with their parents, Mei Mei and Moshu, along Bamboo Trail.
“We are so excited to see our two female cubs exploring the exhibit,” said Shawna Farrington, carnivore area supervisor. “Right now, they are still a bit nervous about coming out, so we are asking our guests to be patient as they get used to being outside."
In September, the public was invited to vote on names for the cubs by donating to red panda conservation efforts. The winning names were Kiaria and Misa. This year the contest raised $295.
“We are so appreciative of all the support of those that participated in the naming contest,” Farrington said. “This was such a great way to support protection of wild red pandas through the Red Panda Network.”
The Zoo held a similar naming contest in the fall of 2014, where the public helped to name our previous red panda cub, Phayara.
All donations during this contest went to the Red Panda Network (RPN), which protects wild red pandas and their habitat through the education and empowerment of local communities in Nepal. RPN created the world’s first community-based monitoring of a red panda population. Forty two local villagers in Nepal were hired to monitor local “community forests,” educate the community about red panda conservation, and work with them to achieve their forest preservation goals.
Known for their cinnamon colored fur and bushy ringed tail, the red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is native to the mountains of Central China, Nepal and northern Myanmar (Burma). They are considered vulnerable to extinction due to habitat destruction. In addition, slow rates of reproduction and high infant mortality rates make it very hard for this species to rebound from population declines.
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