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Red Panda Orphan Doing Well 20 August 2007

A baby red panda at the Curraghs Wildlife Park was orphaned at only a month old. Maggie is being hand reared by the keepers at the Park, keeping them up during the night as she needs bottle feeding every five to six hours.

The tiny panda was born on the 1st of July at the Wildlife Park in the Isle of Man. Unfortunately her mother was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer a week after the birth and the park’s vet operated on her and removed the hind leg which was badly affected. She lost her battle for life 3 weeks later, but those four weeks proved important to the baby as it gave her a fighting chance of survival.

Maggie is now on a puppy milk formula and being fed according to her weight which is monitored daily. Tina Hampton (Duty Manager Customer services) stressed;

“There is still along way to go but we are doing all we can for her. There have only been 3 cubs successfully hand reared, as far as we can find out of a population of around 200 in the European zoo collection at the present time. That first month was vital and the next hurdle to overcome will be weaning her in about 6 weeks time”.

Maggie can be seen by visitors to the Wildlife Park on colour close-circuit television, so that she is not disturbed, but is also brought out at feeding times at the Park’s rearing unit. Feeding times vary but are displayed at the Park entrance.

Nick Pinder, General Manager of the Wildlife Park, said:

“Young red pandas develop very slowly and do not leave the nest until they are about three months old by which time they look much the same as the parents. This is a unique chance to see a baby red panda”.

Red pandas are classified as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the European zoo population is managed under an international co-operative breeding programme through the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.

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