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Posted by Tara Henson on 10/21/2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                         October 18, 2013



CONTACTS:  Tara Henson          (405) 425-0219; (405) 919-9038, cell; or [email protected] 

                     Candice Rennels   (405) 425-0298; (405) 412-6172, cell; or [email protected]




       The baby boom continues at the Oklahoma City Zoo! On July 20, the births of three red panda cubs began what became a shower of summer and fall baby announcements: a female giraffe, two male and two female red river hogs, and elephant Asha’s new delivery expected in December 2014.

       The red panda cubs were the first of the summer births. Members of the Zoo’s animal team discovered that mother Jaya delivered the triplets in a quiet, behind-the-scenes area. She has been with the cubs since birth to allow time for bonding. Father Yoda also has been close by nurturing the cubs.

       “It takes time for red pandas to mature and navigate,” said Nate Strong, animal supervisor.  “But they are exploring more of their home, which includes the outside yard visible to guests. We wanted to give them time to transition from nursing to eating solid foods and chewing bamboo like their parents.”

       Depending on weather conditions, the cubs, named Reina (Rain-uh), Maina (Main-uh) and Basu (Bah-sue), along with parents Yoda and Jaya (Jay-uh), may be seen in the early morning and late afternoon hours in their habitat located across from the Zoo’s Endangered Species Carousel. The animal team chose special Nepalese names: Reina, meaning “queen,” is the biggest cub; Maina, meaning “singing bird,” is the most vocal cub; and Basu, meaning “ancient Nepali king,” is the male cub.

       The Zoo participates in the Red Panda Species Survival Plan and the birth of these cubs, along with 12 others since 1988, is a direct result of those efforts.

       The red panda is listed as a vulnerable species because only an estimated 10,000 remain in the wild. Their remote habitat areas of the Himalayan Mountains from Nepal to Southern China are being threatened by deforestation, agriculture, cattle grazing and competition for resources. Although the word “panda” brings to mind the popular black-and-white giant panda species, red pandas are in a unique carnivore family, which makes them similar in appearance to raccoons or skunks.

       Fall in love with our new arrivals when you visit the Zoo this autumn. Find updates about these and other Zoo animals at or on Twitter @okczoo.

       The Oklahoma City Zoo is a proud member of Oklahoma City’s Adventure District located near the crossroads of I-44 and I-35. The Zoo is open daily, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s days. Regular hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Exhibit buildings close at 4:45 p.m. General admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-11, and $5 for seniors ages 65 and over. Children 2 and under are admitted free. Military members, spouses and up to 5 children receive a 50 percent discount. Parking is free. Additional fees for rides and attractions within the Zoo apply. For more information, call (405) 424-3344 or visit



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The Zoo is a fully accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the American Association of Museums (AAM) as both a living museum and a botanical garden. AZA accredited facilities are dedicated to providing excellent care for their plants and animals, a great experience for guests and a better future for all living things.

A New Breath of Fresh Air: As of Nov. 1, 2007, state law prohibits smoking inside zoological parks. Please help us abide by this law by refraining from smoking within the Zoo. Thank you for maintaining a smoke-free environment for all living things!