Rosamond Gifford Zoo is the home of two more hungry mouths.
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced the birth of twin red panda cubs born June 21. Both cubs are males born to the zoo’s resident breeding pair of red pandas, mother Tabei and father Ketu.
The cubs are being hand-raised by keepers after Tabei demonstrated some difficulty in caring for them on her own. Keepers are bottle-feeding them every four hours and monitoring them. Keepers named the cubs Loofah and Doofah, from “The Land Before Time,” as a nod to the zoo’s summer-long Dinosaur Invasion exhibit.
Red pandas are an endangered species, with fewer than 10,000 estimated remaining in the wild in the Himalayan Mountains. They are called pandas because, like the giant pandas of China, they eat primarily bamboo. The word “panda” comes from a Nepali word meaning “bamboo eater.”
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is involved in increasing the red panda population through the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for red pandas overseen by its accrediting organization, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).
These are Tabei’s third set of red panda cubs since 2015. Her first cubs, males Rohan and Pumori, went on to start their own families at the Central Park Zoo and the Erie Zoo. Ravi and Amaya, a male and female born in 2016, are now at the Detroit Zoo and the Sacramento Zoo respectively.