Seven red panda cubs were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute! The cubs were born to mothers Nutmeg, Regan and Leo Mei. Keepers are hand-raising five of the cubs. Our animal care team is always hopeful that new moms will raise their own cubs, but that’s not always possible. And when it isn’t, keepers are ready to hand-raise cubs.
Leo Mei had aggressive cancer which metastasized and her condition declined rapidly. Unable to stop its spread, or improve her quality of life, our animal care team made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize her after she gave birth.
Regan is a very genetically valuable red panda and important to the population in human care, but she has not been able to successfully rear cubs on her own. Keepers made the decision to hand-rear her cubs before she gave birth to give them the greatest chance of survival.
Nutmeg is raising her own cubs, and they appear to be doing well.