It’s always a great day for a zoo when a new baby animal is born, especially when the animal is part of an endangered species. Each new birth is a step towards repopulating the species and ensuring their survival for another generation.
But the recent birth of one endangered red panda is especially miraculous: the newborn arrived months after the father tragically passed away, a “miracle birth” being hailed as a “sign of hope.”
Paradise Wildlife Park, in Hertfordshire, England, was the home of two red pandas named Tilly and Nam Pang. They were paired as mates as part of an international breeding program, but sadly, they were unable to conceive in their four years together, according to the park.
The plans to mate the two red pandas came to a devastating end in June, after Nam Pang unexpectedly passed away.
“Nam Pang will be greatly missed by everyone who cared for him and by all who were lucky enough to meet him. Everyone who got to meet Nam Pang fell in love with him and his unique characteristics,” Paradise Wildlife Park wrote on Facebook.
He was also remembered as a “good and loving partner” to Tilly.
After the death of her partner, Tilly was all alone. The park monitored her behavior to make sure she was happy and comfortable.
But then they noticed something unexpected: two weeks after Nam Pang died, Tilly began to nest.
They soon discovered that Tilly was pregnant. After years of being unable to conceive with her partner, she was now carrying Nam Pang’s child right after he passed away. Red pandas have a gestation period of 132 days.
Tilly gave birth to her baby on July 16, only a month after Nam Pang’s death. The park called it a “miracle birth” that was “poignant and heart aching.”
It’s a bittersweet moment — it’s sad that Nam Pang never got to live to see his child, but the newborn ensures that the beloved red panda’s legacy will continue on.
“This cub has become a symbol of hope, after the tragic passing of Nam Pang, for his memory and legacy to live on, is more than we ever expected,” said Aaron Whitnall, star of CBBC show One Zoo Three.
It’s also great news because red pandas are an endangered species. There are fewer than 10,000 left in the wild, threatened by deforestation and the illegal pet trade.
According to the park, they are part of the European Ex-Situ Breeding Program, which aims to “create a safety net for endangered species in the wild.” They also work with the Red Panda Network to help protect the species.
Visitors to Paradise Wildlife Park will have to wait a bit before seeing this “miracle cub” in person, as red pandas do not leave the nest until they’re 2 or 3 months old.
The newborn’s gender is not yet known, but the park has dubbed it “Little Red,” and say the baby is a “miraculous, beautiful and healthy cub” who is developing well and being well taken care of by its mother.
What a miracle that this baby was born even after the death of its father. This newborn ensures that Nam Pang’s legacy will live on and help the endangered red panda survive for many years to come.
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