A red panda cub was born over the night of 12th of June at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. The mother is a four-year-old red panda identified as Moonlight. Both cub and mother are in the best of health. Keepers at the Smithsonian are cautious about the health of the animals but remain optimistic.
Moonlight has been observed to leave her nest box only when she requires to eat and drink. The cub was born in the nest box. Keepers have performed a visual examination of the cub who weighed 6 ounces when born. He is the size of a normal red panda cub.
For the next two to three months, the cub will stay within the nest box and will open its eyes, walk around and turn its signature red color in the same period. A native to bamboo forests in Asia, these creatures are endangered as they face a loss of habitat at the hands of humans who in the name of development, log the bamboo plants and cut down trees. The population of Red Pandas has seen a significant decline in the last 20 years, and numbers have dropped by 50%.
Smithsonian is responsible for collecting data, breeding and studying behavioral changes in the population, creating databases in case the creature becomes extinct.