Press Blog

Red Panda Cub Ready for 1st Christmas at Fota Wildlife Park

As Christmas Day approaches something cuddly that is red with a bit of white has made an appearance at Fota Wildlife Park, not Santa but a 6 month old Red Panda Cub.


The cub who the wardens have named “Bam” which is short for Bamboo was born on the 1st of July. Speaking about the cub lead warden at Fota Wildlife Park Kelly Lambe said “although he is 6 months old on New Year’s Day it’s only in recent weeks that Bam has been seen climbing and running outside so that is the main reason we are only letting the public know now”.


This is the second cub for 4 year old Bonnie who originally came from Dublin Zoo and Dad Pete who is 5 years old. “Last year Bonnie gave birth to Dearg a female cub who last month moved to a park in Italy as part of a European breeding programme for red pandas coordinated by EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquariums)” said Ms Lambe. 


The birth of the cub is significant for the East Cork Park with the Red Panda being recently moved from Vulnerable to Endangered on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List as their population continues to decline due to habitat fragmentation. It’s thought that fewer than 2,500 mature individuals remain in their native home range.


The Red Panda is native to the Himalayas in Bhutan, southern China, Pakistan, India, Laos, Nepal, and Burma. The Red Panda, also called the Firefox or Lesser Panda is a mostly herbivorous mammal, favouring bamboo as its main food choice.


The Red Panda isn’t the only animal celebrating its first Christmas at the park as 2015 also saw the births of a Giraffe, European Bison, Red Lechwe, Scimitar horned Oryx, Kangaroo, Wallaby, Tortoise, Brazilian Tapir and two cheetah cubs. The past year also saw the opening of phase two of the Asian Sanctuary which is now home to Indian Rhino, Lar Gibbons and Francois Langur Monkeys on top of Sumatran Tigers, Visayan Spotted Deer, Visayan Warty Pig and Lion Tailed Macaques in the park’s 27 acre expansion. .


Fota Wildlife Park will be closed to the public on Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day but will be open every day again from the 27th.