Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Red Panda Cubs Are As Cute as B&W Ones

By now, presumably, you've had time to resign yourself to the disappointment of another failed attempt on the part of would-be second-time panda mom, Mei Xiang, to have a second cub. Though assisted by the best in high-tech panda reproductive technology this country has to offer, and though for a while buoyed by the hope evinced by nesting activity and other signs that proved, ultimately, to be those of a false pregnancy, Mei Xiang has now passed another breeding cycle without result. As she heads toward the end of her fertile years (though panda specialists are not exactly sure what the cut-off is), we can console ourselves this year with a cub of a different color -- or rather two very cute and cuddly red panda cubs, born to Shama (who may now be called Shama the Mama -- sorry, I couldn't resist) at the Zoo's more private Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia.

To see an abundance of new baby photos, including two other red panda cubs born to another panda mom, plus baby pictures of a few other, less telegenic species, click here and scroll down to the end of the page to start the Zoo slideshow.

The red panda exhibit at the Zoo's Asia Trail is currently closed but you will be able to see the red panda cubs in real life sometime in the fall.

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