Garden City Zoo mourns death of third red panda cub

(Source: Lee Richardson Zoo)

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KWCH) Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Garden City Zoo is mourning the death of another red panda cub. It was of four born at the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City in July. It is now the third cub of the quadruplets to die.

The zoo said Shikha was being hand-reared but died unexpectedly on Wednesday. She was 35 days old. Necropsy results show no apparent cause of death, and tissues have been sent in for testing.

The zoo said the only living cub, Shanu, is being reared by her mother and seems to be doing fine.

“Shikha had generally been a little behind her sister in development but had recently opened her eyes and was making attempts at figuring out what her hind legs were really for. Staff put their hearts into rearing her and are dealing with the impact of her death as well as they can,” said Zoo Director Kristi Newland.

According to data from the Red Panda Species Survival Plan, first-year mortality is approximately 46%. Fifty percent of the cubs Ember has produced over the years, counting Shanu, are thriving, said the zoo.

Monday, July 21, 2019

The Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City is mourning the deaths of two red panda cubs.

The zoo discovered one of the male cubs had "injuries of an unknown origin that made his survival questionable" shortly after he was born. Staff members tried to save him but their efforts were unsuccessful.

Another female cub died while she was being raised by her mother.

The zoo said the cubs were among quadruplets born on July 17, which is uncommon.

In a statement, the zoo said its focus is now on the two cubs that are still alive.


Friday, July 19, 2019

The Lee Richardson Zoo announced the birth of four red panda cubs.

The zoo says Ember, a 9-year-old female red panda, gave birth to the cubs on July 17, 2019.

This is Ember’s sixth litter (her fifth with Charlie, the zoo’s 6-year-old male, as the sire).

Red panda litters typically range in size from 1 and 4, but the zoo says singles or twins occur much more often.

Only 1% of the red panda litters are quadruplets. For that reason, zoo staff are hand-rearing two of the cubs.

“It’s better for pandas to be raised with other pandas, and one of them does have some health challenges. This is the best way to give all four the best chance at thriving,” said Zoo Director Kristi Newland.

Animal Care staff expect Ember and the cubs to make their first outdoor appearance sometime in late September or early October.

Until then, footage of mom and cubs will be available on the zoo’s website, the zoo Facebook page, and YouTube.