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  • Newborn small panda twins
    2016. 07. 20.

     Newborn small panda twins


    Giant pandas are most-liked animals of the world although their namesakes, the red pandas who are also called small pandas, are similarly cute animals.

    Their face is very much like of the giant panda’s with whom it shares much of its habitat.

    The birth of an animal baby is always a special occasion in a zoo but in case of such cute twins who are even endangered animals it is an even bigger pleasure. The red panda parents of Nyíregyháza have been living together for two years within the framework of the European Species Protection Program. Ting-ting arrived to Nyíregyháza from Bratislava while Sichuan came from Dublin Zoo. Their reproduction is a great event also because they rarely breed in captivity.

    The species (Ailurus fulgens) can be found at high altitude forests of the Himalayas and Norther Burma, the western part of Sichuan and Yunnanat an elevation of 2000-4800 meters.

    Fur of the red panda consists of long and coarse upper hairs and dense undercoat keeping the animal warm and dry in its cold and wet habitat.

    At present, there are nearly 10000 red pandas living in the wild. Their number has declined by about 40 % over the last 50 years primarily due to habitat loss and poaching. In Nepal, for example, they were hunted for their fur to make cap of it. In China, their tail was used as a broom.

    Although they belong to the order Carnivora, they are feeding mainly on bamboo but eat sometimes also eggs, insects, chicks and small mammals.

    They are active at night and spend the day sleeping while curled up among tree branches. They mark their territory with their faecal, urine and substance from the scent glands at the rectum.

    The eye of the cubs who are now 5 weeks old were closed in the first few weeks and they spent most of their time lying in their den. Their eyes opened this week and their fur is getting more reddish from day to day. After their birth, Ting-ting, the mother was almost all day in the den with them. For now, she leaves the den more times a day but returns to nurse and clean them. Today, the cubs went through a veterinary examination which revealed that both of them are females.

    In the 19th century, the name panda referred only to the red bear-cat. The English word may originate from the Nepalese name of the animal which is punja coming from the expression nigalja punja meaning bamboo eater. The name small panda was to distinguish the animal from the giant panda which was discovered later and has been named also as panda because the two species was thought to be relatives.

    The expression of the red bear-cat refers to the bear-like appearance of the animal while it can climb on trees just as good as cats with the help of its partly retractable claws. It also cleans itself by licking like cats do. Similarly to the giant panda, it has six fingers on its foreleg. The sixth finger is the enlargement of the wrist bone and is opposable to the other fingers by which red panda can easily grasp bamboo shoots.