The Most Adorable Red Pandas In Your Backyard!

The Most Adorable Red Pandas In Your Backyard!

Paige Bomhof

While the world was on lockdown, the world took a pause. The world went quiet. Except at Zoos. Life went on at Zoos without the world watching. Just like at John Ball Zoo with the birth of triplet Red Pandas.

   The babies’ names are Ruby, Willow, and Rose. They were born to parents Wasabi and Wyatt on June 25th, 2020.

   There was a contest held to name the panda babies. The contest was also a fundraiser to raise money for red panda conservation. The Zoo raised a total of $13,124 from 471 voters across 20 states and some from other countries!

   The contest is an important conservation for these pandas because in the wild there are only about 2,500 adult Red Pandas left. The birth of these three pandas is going to advance conservation of the species.

   I was able to talk to Rhiannon Mulligan from John Ball Zoo about the pandas. Leading up to the arrival of the cubs, the Zoo received Wyatt, the panda cub’s father. “When we first received Wyatt from Chattanooga Zoo he was slated to be paired with a female so that they would hopefully breed and therefore help boost the genetic diversity of the population.” Mulligan said. The pandas are part of a Species Survival Plan, that will help the pandas to survive and also create genetically diverse offspring. 

   Since the Zoo knew that they would be receiving a new panda, Mulligan says “Anticipating cubs directly impacted the training the keepers and vet staff did with Wasabi to help provide better care.”

   The Zoo also took steps to ensure that Wasabi and the cubs are comfortable. Mulligan says “This primarily meant working with her to be comfortable with ultrasounds and other ways to monitor her health while not causing any stress to her.” 

   The Zoo also “made some adjustments to the inside and outside areas of the habitat so that we could create an appropriate den space for her to birth the babies and make the exhibit a safe space for the babies when they were old enough to venture out [of the habitat].” Mulligan explains. 

   The Zoo was “lucky in that there were no complications with the birth.” The pandas were delivered safe and sound into this crazy world. 

   After the pandas were born, the Zoo let Wasabi bond with the triplets The veterinary staff did do a complete physical on the babies but not immediately, it was important to us that the babies bond with mom and that mom bonds in a way that will allow her to raise the babies with very limited interaction from keeper staff.” Mulligan said. 

   John Ball Zoo also made sure that the new babies would not catch COVID-19.  “There haven’t been any reported cases of COVID-19 in Red Pandas but there was a higher risk for mammals than other species.” Mulligan said.

   In order to protect the little ones: “Keepers took extra precautions by closely monitoring their health and only entering the red panda area if they were wearing proper PPE, this included covering their regular clothing and wearing masks and gloves.” The Zoo wanted to ensure the safety of the panda cubs because of them being so endangered in the wild. 

   Today, The cubs are meeting their dad, Wyatt and exploring their outdoor habitat! People can visit the Red Pandas until about November 22nd.