Seneca Park Zoo welcomes two red panda cubs


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and the Seneca Park Zoo announced the birth of two red pandas. Starlight, the Zoo’s 4-year-old female red panda, gave birth to two male cubs on Sunday, June 20.

“The birth of the two red panda cubs is exciting for the Seneca Park Zoo and our community, and is encouraging news for ensuring the sustainability of red panda populations,” Bello said. “I want to thank Zoo Director Steve Lacy, Dr. Louis DiVincenti, Lead Red Panda Keeper Heidi Beifus and the rest of the talented staff at the Seneca Park Zoo for their dedication to caring for the cubs and their new mom over the last month. We can’t wait to be able to share our newest Zoo additions with residents and visitors.”

The zoo says the 1-month old cubs are doing well. This is the first red panda birthing in the 128 years of the Seneca Park Zoo.

Starlight came to the Seneca Park Zoo in 2018 from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and her mate, Willie, 6, arrived in 2020 by way of the Knoxville Zoo. Both animals are first time parents.

“Even as a first time mom, Starlight has taken perfect care of her two cubs. We ae confident they are in good hands as they grow,” Lead Red Panda Keeper Heidi Beifus said,.

The cubs will remain in their nest box – out of public viewing – until they are 2 or 3 months old. They will not be available for public viewing for at least another month.

“This successful birth is the result of careful planning and preparation. Our red pandas play an important role as ambassador for their wild counterparts, and we look forward to them helping our community foster a connection to red pandas in the wild,” Dr. Louis DiVincenti, Assistant Zoo Director said.

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