July 6, 2010 -
Knoxville Zoo, which ranks as one of the top two zoos in the world in
the breeding of endangered red pandas, welcomed two new red panda cubs on June 14, 2010.
Born to mother Akkali and father Chewbacca, the two female cubs are very important genetically
to the red panda population.
The cubs are being hand-reared in
the zoo clinic by keepers due to
concerns that they were being
groomed too zealously by their
mother Akkali, which can result
in skin abrasions. At three weeks
of age, the cubs are healthy, and
zoo staff hopes they will be able
to go on view to the public in the
next few weeks in The Boyd
Family Red Panda Village.
Red pandas are endangered
primarily due to destruction of
their native habitat, which extends from western Nepal to northern Myanmar. Knoxville Zoo's
Red Panda Curator, Sarah Glass, is also the coordinator for the North American Red Panda Species
Survival Plan (SSP), which manages the breeding and placement of all red pandas living in zoos
accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). "We're guardedly optimistic that
these cubs will continue to thrive. The first month is the most crucial," says Glass. "These two
female cubs will be extremely important due to the fact that their bloodline is not currently wellrepresented,
and they will add new genetic diversity to the captive red panda population."
Knoxville Zoo is Knoxville’s largest year-round attraction. Located off exit 392A from Interstate 40, the zoo
is open every day except Christmas Day. Knoxville Zoo is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos
and Aquariums (AZA) and is committed to the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics,
conservation, and education. Currently, the zoo is open daily from 9:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Admission and
ticket sales stop one-hour before the zoo closes. Next-day admission is free after 3 p.m. For more
information, please call 865-637-5331 ext. 300 or visit www.knoxville-zoo.org.