Tiny Red Panda Born at Smithsonian Conservation Institute

The Smithsonian says the cub and mom, Moonlight, are doing well

baby red panda
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

There's a new addition to the Smithsonian family: A tiny red panda.

The endangered red panda cub was born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia on June 12, and we're just getting a glimpse of the furry ball of joy.

The Smithsonian says the cub and mom, Moonlight, are doing well. Mom has been very attentive, nursing and grooming her cub and only leaves for short periods of times to eat and drink, zookeepers say.

When mom took a snack break on June 19, keepers took the opportunity to give the cub its first check up. It weighed in at 6 ounces, which is normal for a newborn. Right now, it's covered in a thick layer of wooly fur that will eventually turn into the bright, rusty color that red pandas are known for.

The baby is expected to stay in its nest box for two to three months, then it will open its eyes and begin walking. 

The cub will stay with Moonlight until it's one year to 18 months old.

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute houses five red pandas.

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