Your Toronto Zoo Welcomes The Birth of Endangered Red Panda!

Toronto, Canada (July 21, 2022) – Your Toronto Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of a red panda cub! Born at 4:11pm on Wednesday, July 13, this is only the third red panda birth at your Zoo in over 25 years, and the first cub for four-year-old mom, Paprika. Mom is comfortable enough to leave the nest box for short periods of time, and this allowed our Wildlife Care staff to quickly assess the cub’s health and were also able to determine the cub is a male.


After a quick vet visit on Tuesday, we learned he weighs a very healthy 221g. Paprika was very calm when she was momentarily separated from him, taking the chance to stretch out and groom herself before returning to the nest box to bathe and attend to her cub. Paprika and her cub will not be viewable to the public at this time as we allow them privacy as the cub continues to grow. We will keep updated when they are ready to make their public debut!

Paprika arrived at the Zoo in November 2021 as a potential mate for our male red panda Suva on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Red Panda Species Survival Plan®. The mission of an AZA cooperatively managed SSP Program is to manage an ex situ species population with the interest and cooperation of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, Certified Related Facilities (CRFs), and Sustainability Partners. 

Male Red Panda Suva (5 Years Old)

Female Red Panda Paprika (4 years old)

The pair was first introduced on December 31, 2021, and remote cameras recorded several breeding attempts in late January. Red panda births occur about 4-6 months after breeding. This variable pregnancy length is because red pandas experience what’s called delayed implantation.  This is when a fertilized egg will pause before implanting into the uterus and become dormant.  The embryo will stay in this dormant stage until the animal’s body conditions are at optimal levels.  When that is reached, the embryo will implant and pregnancy will continue.

“We are so excited to welcome this baby red panda to the Toronto Zoo family,” says Dolf DeJong, CEO, Toronto Zoo. “Red pandas are an endangered species due to illegal hunting and habitat loss, so contributing to sustaining their managed populations in AZA accredited zoos is not only a success for your Zoo, but also helps to educate our guests about the conservation efforts of this extraordinary species.”

Red Panda Footage with Cub

In April 2015, the conservation status of red pandas was elevated to Endangered by the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN). Red pandas are elusive and challenging to study in the wild – their population has been estimated by experts as anywhere between 2,500 and 10,000 individuals, but all agree that the species is declining – by as much as 50% in the past 20 years. To support red pandas and other wildlife conservation work at your Toronto Zoo to save wildlife and wild spaces, make a gift today by clicking the button below!

Wildlife Conservancy

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