ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WJBK) - Weekend visitors to the Detroit Zoo were treated to their first look at a female red panda cub born June 22. Tofu, the offspring of 10-year-old mother Ta-Shi and 6-year-old father Shifu, was spotted close to her mom on Saturday in their wooded habitat across from the Amur tigers.
"Ta-Shi took her time bringing her adorable baby girl out into public view, but it was worth the wait," said Scott Carter, Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) chief life sciences officer. "We're happy to welcome Tofu to the Detroit Zoo and to contribute to the captive population of this threatened species."
Found in the mountainous regions of Nepal, Myanmar and central China, red pandas are classified as "vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species due to deforestation.
The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a shy and solitary animal, except when mating. It is about the size of a house cat, with rust-colored fur and an 18-inch white-ringed tail. Red pandas are skilled and agile climbers, spending most of their time hanging from tree branches or lounging on limbs.
The DZS conducts field work in Nepal to study and conserve red pandas in the wild. Part of this work requires the use of trail cameras triggered by motion and heat to take pictures and remotely monitor populations of red pandas and other species.
For hours, prices, directions and other information, call 248-541-5717 or visit www.detroitzoo.org.