The Nyíregyháza Zoo has an important mission on the rare and endangered species of
keeping and breeding. Almost for every week we have news about a successful breeding.
Today the 6 weeks old red pandas (Ailurus fulgens) were examined by Dr. Alexandra Biácsi
who besides measuring their weights and determining the sexes of the pandas she gave the
cubs a unique identifier. Currently the male weighs 665 grams and the female does 627
grams also they are enjoying excellent health and a few weeks later the red panda cubs
begin to get to know the outside world.
The red panda parents have been living together for 5 years in the European Endangered
Species Programme (EEP). The female came from Bratislava and her partner Szecsuán came
from the Dublin Zoo to Sóstó Zoo. The breeding pair is very successful because this is the
third time that twins were born while it’s very hard for them to reproduce in captivity.
Currently there is less than 10.000 red pandas live in the wild – in the Himalayas, in the
upper forest of North Burma also the west side of Sichuan and in Yunnan – and this number
have decreased about 40 % in the last 50 years because of losing their habitat, poaching and
illegal animal trading. Although they belong to the predator species, but their menu mostly
consists bamboo and sometimes the pandas like to consume eggs, insects, nestlings and
The 6 weeks old cubs’s eyes were closed in the first few weeks and they are spending most
of their times laying in the lair. Ting-ting, the mother, at the beginning was with her cubs all
day in the lair even though she leaves the twins more frequently, but she goes back to feed
and clean the pandas. The species was discovered in 1825 and their Latin name – Ailurus
fulgens – means ’fire blaze’ cat. The Hungarian name of the species, red bear cat refers to
the features of a bear moreover they climb on trees very well – the help of their semi-
retractable claws – and also clean themselves like cats.