Baby red panda named by zookeepers

An endangered red panda cub has been named after undergoing her first health check at a city zoo.

Ruby was born in July at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s (RZSS) Edinburgh Zoo.

As a thank-you for their hard work over last year, staff from the wildlife conservation charity voted Ruby’s name out of a shortlist.

Ruby will remain inside her den until around four months, at which point she will venture out into the wild. Her parents, Bruce, and Ginger, can still be seen outdoors during the day.

The kit will stay in her den until she is around four months old (RZSS/PA)

Jo Elliott, animal collection manager and carnivore keeper at Edinburgh Zoo said: “We wanted to give our kit a name which pays homage to red pandas and would also fit nicely with our previous kit’s name, Ruaridh. The carnivore team came up with a shortlist of names and put it out to our colleagues as a vote.

“Everyone at RZSS has worked so hard this last year, providing expert care for all of the animals at Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park throughout the pandemic and working to connect the public with nature during lockdown. This was a small thing we could do to say thank you.

“Red pandas are a visitor favourite here at the zoo and Ruby’s birth is significant for this endangered species, which is at risk due to habitat loss and poaching.”

As Ruby grows, her fur will become redder and her tail will grow bushier.

She will first explore the outdoors with her mother, then she can go out on her own once she is more independent.

Rosie, Rowan, and Rowan were the other names that were shortlisted. The name chosen was announced in time for International Red Panda Day (September 18).

Red pandas can be found in the Himalayas of Nepal, Bhutan India and Myanmar, as well as southern China.

They are protected within most of their natural range but are still illegally hunted for their tail and fur, which are considered lucky charms in some cultures.

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