Fans are showing their love for an endangered newborn red panda named Ravi, who was welcomed to a science center in North Carolina in June.
Ravi, who was born overnight between June 19 and 20 at the Greensboro Science Center, received a drawing from a young fan of a red panda hanging from a tree branch that says “Welcome, Ravi,” shared the center in a Facebook post. The Guardians are asking for more fan submissions which they say will hang in Ravi’s room.
Art can be mailed to: Attn: Marketing, 4301 Lawndale Dr, Greensboro, NC 27455, depending on center.
Ravi represents the first successful birth of a red panda cub at Greensboro Science Center, the Guardians said in a news release.
Red pandas are endangered, with fewer than 10,000 in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Ravi, which means sun in Sanskrit, is being hand raised by a veterinary team at the science center to improve his chances of survival, the keepers said.
Red pandas in the wild and in captivity sometimes kill their young, according to Jessica Hoffman, vice president of animal care and welfare at the Greensboro Science Center. That’s part of why caretakers decided to hand-raise Ravi, as his mother, Usha, has killed cubs in the past, Hoffman said in a statement.
“It was a risk we didn’t want to take,” she said.
Ravi is currently not visible to guests, but his care team has been keeping the public updated on his progress via social media.
“Baby red panda’s first exam,” the science center wrote in a July 7 Facebook post with video of vets examining and feeding Ravi, who appears to be slightly larger than a person’s hand.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, adult red pandas are slightly larger than domestic cats. In the wild, they live mainly in the Eastern Himalayas and China.
Ravi’s mother, Usha, and father, Tai, were recommended for breeding by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan program, which works with zoos and aquariums to breed endangered species. , the statement said.
The Greensboro Science Center is a conservation-focused aquarium, museum, and zoo, according to its website. Greensboro is about 80 miles northwest of Raleigh.
“The birth of our new red panda marks the beginning of what we hope will be a breeding success with cassowaries, pygmy hippos, fishing cats, sand cats, servals, black-footed cats and more” , Glenn Dobrogosz, CEO of the Greensboro Science Center, said in a statement. “The successful breeding of rare and endangered species is one of the primary objectives of the mission of the (Greensboro Science Center) and (the Association of Zoos and Aquariums).”