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China: Around The Nation

Chinese zookeepers care for artificially bred red panda cub rejected by mother

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 August, 2016, 1:19pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 August, 2016, 2:14pm

Staff at a zoo in China, which has successfully artificially bred its first endangered red panda, are now caring for the cub after it was rejected by its mother, Chinese media reports.

This is the first time that Yunnan Wildlife Zoo has successfully bred a red panda through artificial insemination, Chinanews.com. reported.

In the past, red pandas have been bred by the zoo, but the cubs have never survived.

The latest red panda cub, nicknamed “Chong Chong”, was born on June 16.

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At the time of its birth it measured less than 10cm long and weighed less than 300 grams.

Two weeks after its birth, the cub’s mother started to get lazy about feeding it, which led zookeepers to take over its feeding by themselves.

The article did not say whether the cub was male or female.

Zoo manager Li Lifen said red panda cubs often had very weak stomachs, which meant they needed special care.

Chong Chong has to be fed with milk and fruit seven times a day, Li said.

The zoo plans to return the cub to its mother when it is three months old, the report said.

Mothers of red panda cubs have been known to abandon their young if they become scared.

Red pandas – also known as lesser pandas – which are slightly larger than domestic cats, are found mainly in the jungles of China’s southern and southwestern areas as well as in the Eastern Himalayas.

Global conservation body WWF has classified them as endangered, with a total global population of less than 10,000.

In China, they are regarded as a Class II vulnerable species and protected by law.

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As their habitats drops, the number of red pandas has declined sharply over the past decades.

In China, there are believed to be between 3,000 and 7,000 red pandas, the report said.