At National Zoo, red panda cub is born and agave plant flowers

This little red panda cub was born June 16 and is getting lots of attention from its mom.
This little red panda cub was born June 16 and is getting lots of attention from its mom. (Smithsonian Institution)
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Zoo celebrates with red pandas and plants

-- A red panda cub, the first in 15 years, has been born at the National Zoo.

There are fewer than 2,500 red pandas left in the wild, but the endangered species is actively bred in zoos. Mom is 2-year-old Shama and has been very attentive to her cub so far. The father is 3-year-old Tate, who came to the zoo just last year. Zoo officials have closed off the red panda section of Asia Trail for a while, but you might be able to catch a glimpse of the cub, born June 16, from the upper viewing area.

Another great sight at the zoo right now is the flowering agave plant, a species that blooms only once in its life, usually between 10 and 25 years of age, and then dies. The bright yellow flowers, pollinated by hummingbirds, can be found in the cactus garden near the small mammal house. It is currently in full bloom.


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