The cubs born in New York City — each litter had a boy and girl — are members of two different sub-species.
Those born at Bronx Zoo are usually found in the western part of the Himalayan range. The cubs at Prospect Park Zoo are larger and have darker fur. They can be found in the eastern part of the range. Red pandas are native to China, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar.
Unlike the better-known Giant panda, the red pandas only grow to between 7 to 14 pounds when they reach adulthood.
The red panda breeding program is a part of the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative project meant to enhance the health of certain animal populations.
There are fewer than 10,000 red pandas left in the wild and the International Union of Conservation of Nature has classified the species as vulnerable. The red pandas’ decline is largely due to a loss of habitat from deforestation.
The panda cubs are born with a soft, plush coat and reach adulthood at about 18 months.
Adults have a reddish-brown and black coats. They have a thumb-like digit on their wrists, which allow them to grasp bamboo and tree branches.
The red pandas at the Bronx Zoo can be seen at the Himalayan Highlands Wild Asia Monorail.
At the Prospect Park Zoo the pandas can be found at the Discovery Trail.