Meet Knoxville Zoo's newest red panda cubs

(WBIR) - Twin red panda cubs born at the Knoxville Zoo have become the latest animal stars of East Tennessee.

The zoo officially introduced the male cubs to the media Thursday morning.

For now, the cubs will stay snug in their nest box and won't start venturing outdoors until they're about 3 months old. After they move outdoors, they'll get their names.

Sarah Glass, the curator of the Boyd Family Red Panda Village, said right now sleeping is their main activity.

"Right now they sleep a lot," said Glass. "They're only about the size of maybe a large roll and they do about as much. They sleep the vast majority of the day, and then they wiggle around a little bit and nurse when mom comes in. So they have a pretty laid back lifestyle right now."

Glass played matchmaker to the cubs' proud parents, Scarlett and Madan.

"These are all planned red panda cubs. Red pandas are managed by a species survival plan, which pairs pandas together for the best genetics and population with the idea that someday we will be able to re-introduce it back into the wild once the problems facing them in the wild have been sorted out."

The cubs were born June 23 on their father's 16th birthday. Madan is one of the oldest males at the Boyd Family Red Panda Village, and this was his last litter.

The arrival of these two cubs brings the number of red pandas born at Knoxville Zoo since the 1970s to 108. With the addition of these two little guys, the Knoxville Zoo now boasts the most red pandas born at any zoo in the world.


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