Red panda cubs are born blind and develop quite slowly. They therefore spend the first few months in the den. This is why, despite being born in June, the red panda cub has only recently started to venture outside.
Red pandas are native to the Himalayas in Bhutan, Southern China, Pakistan, India, Laos, Nepal and Burma. However, red panda numbers are declining dramatically due to habitat loss and illegal hunting for their fur, in particular their long bushy tail, which is highly prized as a good luck charm for Chinese newlyweds. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature believes that the red panda faces a very high risk of extinction.
Visitors can see the new red panda as she becomes more adventurous at Belfast Zoo from 10am until 6pm (the last entry is currently 4.30pm).