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Baby animal alert! Potter Park Zoo is preparing for two baby red pandas

Red Panda at the Potter Park Zoo
Posted at 4:19 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 18:01:05-04

LANSING, Mich. — Potter Park Zoo is expecting baby red pandas. Mahlia, the zoo's 7-year-old red panda, is pregnant with twins and is expected to give birth any day now.

Red Panda at the Potter Park Zoo
Maliha came out of her nesting box for grapes.

"We are checking every morning, first thing in the morning to make sure that she has not given birth overnight," said zookeeper Sarah Higgins.

Red pandas are an endangered species. Maliha is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, which is how she met her mate, Deagan-Reid.

Red pandas are an endangered species. Maliha is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, which is how she met her mate, Deagan-Reid.

"Our goal is to have a sustainable captive population of animals 100 years from now. So they are monitoring genetics. They send us breeding recommendations. So they'll tell us, Malia and Deagan look like they're genetically a good match," Higgins said.

A good match indeed. Deagan arrived in March, and veterinary staff confirmed Maliha was pregnant in May.

Red Panda at the Potter Park Zoo

Higgins said they were able to detect this pregnancy early on and have been monitoring Maliha's weight to make sure she's progressing normally.

When the cubs are born, the zoo will wait until they're eight weeks old to let them out of their nest box.

Once they're old enough, Higgins said, they'll be weaned and sent to other zoos.

If you want to visit the red pandas, the zoo is offering free admission for dads on fathers day.

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Larry Wallace

Larry Wallace

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