Syracuse's Rosamond Gifford Zoo has two recent reasons to celebrate International Red Panda Day Saturday. Two red panda cubs named Ravi and Amirya were born on June 27th to second-time mother Tabei. But the tiny cubs aren't on exhibit to zoo guests just yet.
In a release, officials say they're inside nest boxes under the careful watch of their mother. They have opened their eyes and are mobile, but are still tiny and nursing. Zookeepers have been conducting regular weight and wellness checks to monitor the cub's growth and health.
Officials say the zoo's red panda program has been successful. Male cubs named Rohan and Pumori were born last season, and have since been transferred to Central Park and Erie zoos.
Red pandas are endangered, with less than 10,000 in the wild. They're found in the Eastern Himalayas and Southwestern China. Their decline is attributed the loss of nesting trees and bamboo due to deforestation. Coincidentally, zoo officials say the red panda is not closely related to the giant panda.
The zoo is celebrating International Red Panda Day from 11 to 2 Saturday with keeper chats, an animal artifact station, and photos and video of the new cubs. More information about the special day can be found here.