Fota Wildlife Park asks for help naming twin baby pandas

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Digital Desk staff

Fota Wildlife Park has asked the public to help name two twin baby Red panda cubs who are classified as an endangered species.

The twin cubs were born to mother Bonnie, who is nine years old, and father Grga, who is two years old, at the conservation charity’s park in June.

The birth of the female 14-week-old cubs comes as less than 2,500 Red pandas are left in the wild.

After their first few months of just sleeping and feeding they are now starting to emerge from their nesting box.

Those who submit name suggestions for the cubs will be in with the chance of winning one of two year-long conservation passes to the wildlife park.

Lead Ranger Julien Fonteneau said the cubs have begun to explore: “The weather has been lovely and mild recently so after their first few months of just sleeping and feeding they are now starting to emerge from their nesting box, which is visible to the public in the Red panda habitat.”

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“The Red panda is definitely one of the favourite species with the public,” he added of the unique species which is closely related to Racoons and Coatimundis.

One of the endangered baby Red panda cubs born at Fota Wildlife Park. Photo: Darragh Kane.

The Red panda is often referred to as the Firefox or Lesser Panda with its soft reddish-brown fur, and has a diet mostly made up of bamboo but also eats fruit, insects and small animals. Fota feeds its Red pandas with bamboo grown in its park.

Brothers

The new twins have two older brothers, Koda and Lionel, who were named after the Irish rock band Kodaline who filmed a music video at Fota and donated the location fees to the Red Panda Forest Guardian Project in Nepal.

“These births give us the opportunity to highlight the conversation work that we do, such as our financial support for the Red Panda Forest Guardian Project in Nepal which is... dedicated to conserving the Red pandas in their natural habitat in Nepal,” Mr Fonteneau said.

“These births also provide us with the opportunity to educate the public and visitors about Fota Wildlife Park’s participation in the international breeding programmes for the many species that are endangered or threatened in the wild.”

The wildlife park has introduced an online booking system to safely manage the numbers entering its 100-acres.

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To suggest a name for the baby panda cubs or book a visit to see them, people can visit Fota Wildlife Park’s website.

Park rangers will announce the names of the pandas and the winners in mid-October.

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