Two infant red pandas that were born at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in mid-June were on display to the media Thursday afternoon.
Dash and Slash — two of four adult pandas at the zoo — are the proud parents of the female cubs named Robyn and Steele. But the pair has been hand-raised since Dash abandoned her young last year.
Red Pandas are an endangered species and there are only 8,000 of them left in the Himalayas of China and adjacent countries. Poaching has resulted in the loss of over 50% of the habitat.
Winnipeg’s newest pandas aren’t on display to the public due to exhibit renovations, and won’t be staying around long even when their exhibit is complete. “These two recent newborns will be placed in other zoos as soon as they are weaned,” said Dr. Bob Wrigley, zoo curator. “One will go to the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, the other to the Prospect Park Zoo in New York. Their placement is part of the International Red Panda Species Survival Plan.”
About 800 Red Pandas still exist in zoos — most within formal breeding programs. Slash and Dash arrived in Winnipeg in the spring of 2002 from the Yokohama and Asahiyama zoos in Japan.