Zookeeper: Baby red panda healthy, doing well

Photo Courtesy Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Zookeepers haven’t decided on a name yet, but you could call the newest baby at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo ‘Miracle’: a red panda born exactly six weeks ago Monday.  She has lived three times longer than her previous three siblings.

“This cub is really thriving really well right now.  She’s just a big chubby fur ball right now,” Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Area Manager Shelley Scherer said.

Zookeepers are doing everything they can to keep the baby red panda and her mom comfortable.  Experts say it’s rare for cubs to live longer than 30 days in captivity.  This cub and her mom are doing very well.  As for Dad, they say they don’t have to worry much about him.  You can usually find him snoozing up on a tree.

In the meantime, visitors have to look at the exhibit from a distance.

“We’re gradually moving it small steps at a time. We just moved it 8 feet last week and we’re going to move it up again a little bit closer to kind of gradually get the mom used to people getting closer to the exhibit.”

Even employees of the zoo can’t get close to the cub.  So they watch via camera to make sure the baby is safe and healthy.

“We look to make sure that the mom is in with the cub, that the cub’s nursing. If mom becomes stressed, she’ll start carrying the cub a lot.  So, we want to monitor that to make sure she’s not carrying the cub a lot.”

And visitors NewsChannel 15 talked with are impressed with how the zoo is protecting the endangered species.

“The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is one of Fort Wayne’s finest exhibits and anything that they do to take care of the animals for the children and grandparents that bring their kids.  I appreciate all they do to keep the zoo thriving,” Diane Dale said.

Zookeepers say it’s too hard to tell how much longer they’ll have to block off the exhibit.  But they want to be extra cautious.


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