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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 October, 2003, 09:35 GMT 10:35 UK
Red pandas break cover
The red pandas at the zoo
The pandas are usually found in Nepal and China
Two rare red panda cubs have come out of their nest boxes to make their first appearance at Bristol Zoo.

The three-month-old pandas, Tenzing and Babu, were born at the Zoo as part of a conservation project to increase numbers and protect their long-term future.

They were named after famous Himalayan Sherpas, and have been in isolation with their mother since they were born.

The cubs were born with deep grey fur, which moults to reveal the red panda colouring.

Fur trade

This helps them blend with the reddish moss and white lichen growing on the fir trees in the mountains of the Himalayas in China and Nepal

Red pandas are endangered in the wild as much of their habitat and bamboo food supply is being destroyed.

They have suffered population decreases of around 40% in China over the last 50 years.

The forests in which they naturally live are being cleared, and the pandas are killed by dogs and hunted by poachers for the fur trade.

Lang Tang, the mother, who is eight years old, has stayed in the nest box with her cubs almost constantly since they were born, only coming out to collect food for herself.

Red panda escapes from zoo
28 Dec 02 |  Northern Ireland

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