August 30, 2011 - Knoxville Zoo's three red panda cubs are all set to make their adorable debut just in
time for Labor Day weekend. Knoxville Zoo ranks as one of the top two zoos in the world for the breeding of
endangered red pandas, and the new arrivals bring the total number of red panda cubs born in Knoxville to 102.
Two female cubs were born on June 6,
2011, to mother Kumari and father
Madan. On June 20, 2011, male and
female cubs were born to mother
Akkali and father Chewbacca,
although the female cub did not
survive. The cubs are being handreared
in the zoo clinic by keepers after
concerns arose when staff noticed
Kumari was not attentive to one of the
cubs, and Akkali was observed
handling her cubs too vigorously. At
12 and 10 weeks of age, the cubs are
healthy, and zoo staff hopes they will be able to go on view to the public in time for the weekend in The
Boyd Family Red Panda Village.
Zoo staff christened the male cub Winston and the female cubs Bernadette, in honor of Bern Tryon, the zoo's
long-time director of herpetology who passed away in May, and Dolly, in honor of Sevier County native and
country music legend Dolly Parton. When told that she had a red panda namesake, Ms. Parton responded with
gracious enthusiasm. "I am so excited to have my own 'Little Dolly' at the Knoxville Zoo," said Ms. Parton. "It
is a great honor to be immortalized by having the 100th panda born at the zoo named after me. It's a lot cuter than
the sheep named "Dolly."
Red pandas are endangered primarily due to destruction of their native habitat, which extends from western Nepal
to northern Myanmar. The zoo's newest red panda additions are very important genetically to the red panda
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 Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and from 9:30
a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the zoo closes. Nextday
admission is free after 3 p.m. For more information, please call 865-637-5331 ext. 300 or visit www.knoxvillezoo.org.