‘Finger-sized’ red panda cub born at Whipsnade Zoo

Keepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are celebrating the arrival of a “finger-sized” endangered red panda cub.

The cub, mother Tashi’s seventh baby, is a new addition to the international conservation breeding programme working to support the species’ population.

“Red panda cubs are surprisingly small when they’re first born – about the size of your index finger,” said zoo deputy team leader Grant Timberlake.

“The cub has grown quickly and is about the size of a small puppy now.”

The youngster spent the few months of its life being cared for by Tashi in their nestbox, but can now be seen exploring its new home.

“Though it will be a full year before the cub reaches adult size, it will soon begin testing its incredible climbing skills around its leafy tree-top enclosure,” Mr Timberlake said.

The cub will be named by keepers once its gender has been determined by vets at its first health check.

The Bedfordshire zoo reopened to the public on June 15 after three months of closure due to the coronavirus lockdown.