Cute cub: Perth Zoo's baby red panda gets clean bill of health after vet visit

Perth Zoo went on cute-alert this week with their new Nepalese red panda cub passing its first health check with flying colours.

But while the little one's clean bill of health was a cause for celebration, the check-up coincided with the rescue of six red pandas bound for the illegal wildlife trade.

The six were taken into the care of one of Perth Zoo's conservation partners, Free the Bears, after being seized from traffickers on the border of Laos and China. Tragically only three survived their first night due to severe stress and potential exposure to disease.

Perth Zoo keeper Marty Boland said the rescue highlighted how vital coordinated zoo breeding programs were for the survival of the endangered species.

Including the new cub, Perth Zoo has successfully reared 19 Nepalese red pandas since 1997.

The two-month-old was born to nine-year-old mother, Anusha, who was also born at Perth Zoo, and six-year-old father, Makula, who was born in Canberra.

"Our veterinarians gave our furry new arrival a quick health check of its body condition, eyes, teeth, ears and weight," Mr Boland said.

"The Perth Zoo team are also consulting with Free the Bears, providing advice on appropriate diets and how to reduce heat stress for the rescued pandas."

Nepalese red pandas are found across the Himalayas and foothills of India, China, Nepal and Bhutan.

Deforestation and illegal poaching continue to be significant threats to remaining populations.

Less than 10,000 are thought to remain in the wild.

Perth Zoo's red panda cub is expected to emerge from the nest box in April.

Those wanting to help Red Pandas are encouraged to donate to Perth Zoo's Wildlife Conservation Action program which supports organisations including Free the Bears and TRAFFIC, helping protect animals beyond the Zoo's borders.

This story Cute cub: Perth Zoo's baby red panda gets clean bill of health after vet visit first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.