Endangered Red Pandas born in Front Royal

Within days of each other, two litters of red panda cubs were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal.

Nutmeg, an experienced mom, gave birth to two cubs June 14.

Moonlight, a first-time mom, gave birth to two cubs June 17, but sadly one of the cubs died shortly after birth.

Moonlight’s tiny surviving cub at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal recently opened its eyes. Photo by Jessica Kordell, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

“Both litters of cubs opened their eyes July 9 and appear to be doing well,” according to the institute, which just announced the births this past week.

Nutmeg’s cubs weighed 367 grams (0.80 pounds) and 234 grams at their last weigh-in. Moonlight’s cub topped the scales at 330 grams.

SCBI plays a leading role in the Smithsonian’s global efforts to save wildlife species from extinction and trains future generations of conservationists. SCBI spearheads research programs at its headquarters in Front Royal, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in the nation’s capital, and at field research stations and training sites worldwide.

“SCBI scientists tackle some of today’s most complex conservation challenges by applying and sharing what they learn about animal behavior and reproduction, ecology, genetics, migration and conservation sustainability,” the Smithsonian notes.

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