BOISE, Idaho — A couple of red panda cubs are enjoying new-found independence with their own enclosure at Zoo Boise. And they are furry fan favorites. Ginger and Natasha are growing up fast. Now, the cubs are acclimating to their new panda pad.
"They’re at the age now where in the wild they would start living independently," said Jeff Agosta with Zoo Boise. "People love them, they're obviously adorable."
These adorable cubs are not just for looks, they serve a much higher purpose.
The cubs are fraternal twins, born in the summer of 2021 to parents, Dolly and Spud.
"Dolly, because she’s had seven litters, she’s one of the most valuable red pandas," said Agosta.
Like so many newcomers, these pandas are not native to the area, but they do love the winter months.
"They are definitely more active during these cold-weather months," he said.
It's not all fun and games. Red panda conservation is a serious matter.
"They do serve a higher purpose as part of the species survival plan," said Agosta.
These cubs will grow up and then help expand the species.
"The goal of the Species Survival Plan is to increase their numbers within the captive populations and most specifically to create a genetically diverse and healthy collection of them in case re-introduction was ever necessary in the wild.
So the next time you stop by Zoo Boise, say hello to Ginger and NAtasha and know that your ticket is helping red panda populations thrive.
"We're the first zoo to have an automatic conservation fee built into admission so every time you come to Zoo Boise you’re part of that mission to help wild animals in wild places," he said.
Since 2007, Zoo Boise has set aside more than $3 million for animal conservation and is accredited by the "Association of Zoos and Aquariums."