It's a girl! Baby red panda born at Milwaukee Zoo in June

Red Panda Baby Milw Zoo.jpg
Courtesy-Milwaukee Co Zoo

MILWAUKEE - A red panda cub was born this summer at the Milwaukee County Zoo, officials announced Thursday.

The zoo said a female was born on June 6 to first-time parents. The mother, Dr. Erin Curry, is also known as Dr. E., and the father is Dash. Dr. E. is 3 years old and is from the Cincinnati Zoo. Dash is 6 years old and is originally from the Granby Zoo in Quebec, Canada.

Because the youngster is still getting acclimated to her new surroundings, the animal care staff wants to give her plenty of time to become comfortable before she is introduced to visitors. The zoo expects she will make her public debut in the next few weeks, the release said.

The cub weighed 166 grams at 3 days old and could fit in the palms of her keeper's hands, according to a news release. She has grown to about 5 pounds and keepers said it takes both hands to pick her up.

The cub is doing well and Dr. E "is doing a great job raising her first cub," according to the zoo.

Thursday, the day the zoo announced the birth of the cub, is International Red Panda Day.

In the wild, red pandas live in the mountains of Nepal, northern Myanmar and central China, zoo officials said. Red pandas are considered endangered due to deforestation, poaching and trapping. With an estimated adult population of less than 2,500 and an approximate mortality rate of 86 percent, every red panda birth is important.

The zoo said red pandas are solitary animals and they only interact during mating season. Young red pandas develop at a slow rate, spending the first year or more with their mother. They're blind for the first 21 to 31 days after birth and their mothers keep them hidden in nests for the first two to three months. The mothers then teach the cubs how to climb and hunt.