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Forum staff reports, Published August 29 2012

Red River Zoo opens naming contest for baby red panda

FARGO – A new addition to the Red River Zoo is ready to make his public debut.

A red panda cub born May 20 has just started emerging from his nest box, the zoo said in a news release Wednesday.

He’s the son of 7-year-old Yukiko and Shantou that have been at the zoo since 2007 when they were brought here to increase the genetic diversity of the captive red panda population in America.

The Red River Zoo has bred one-fourth of the captive red pandas in North American zoos. The species is related to giant pandas and raccoons, but only an estimated 10,000 are thought to survive worldwide after habitat loss and poaching.

The zoo will hold a naming contest for the male panda. Names must come from the areas in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China where the animals live in the wild. To enter, visit www.redriverzoo.org.