Zoo’s Baby Red Panda gets a name

The zoo has named the little female red panda cub “Maliha.”
Baby red panda “Maliha”  with her mother Xiao.
Baby red panda “Maliha” with her mother Xiao.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo has named the six-week-old red panda cub “Maliha.”

“She’s strong and she’s beautiful, and now the zoo’s six-week-old red panda cub has a name to match,” the press release on the announcement reads.

Red pandas are native to Nepal and China. Zoo Keeper Helena Lacey said she chose the baby’s name to reflect her wild heritage. “I also wanted her name to reflect the whole journey we’ve been on with our red pandas for the last three years,” she said.  “Plus, she is a very strong cub, and beautiful too!”

Maliha is the first red panda cub born in the last three years to survive longer than two weeks. Experts say it’s rare for cubs to live longer than 30 days in captivity.

While she’s gradually becoming more active, Maliha still spends her time in an air-conditioned nest box with Xiao, her mother.

“Maliha rolls around, plays with her feet, and stays awake more,” Lacey says.  “She tries to walk, but her feet still slide out from under her.”

Guests probably won’t see Maliha until late August or early September. The path to the red panda exhibit is closed as zoo keepers work to minimize disturbances for the new family.


About the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is northeast Indiana’s largest tourist attraction, hosting more than 500,000 guests annually.  The zoo was voted Indiana’s #1 “Gotta-Do Summer Attraction” and is consistently named one of the nation’s Top Ten Zoos for Kids by national media outlets. 

The zoo is a conservation leader, contributing more than $80,000 annually to local, regional, and international efforts to protect wild animals and habitats, and participating in cooperative management programs for 15 endangered species. 

As a self-supporting facility, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo receives no tax dollars for operations.  The zoo’s operations are funded entirely by earned revenue and donations.

The zoo is open 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily through October 12, 2014.  Admission is $14.00 for adults; $10.50 for seniors age 60+; and $9.00 for children ages 2-18.  Babies age 1 and under and Zoo Society Members are admitted free.


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