These are the little baby animals we both want and need: Nepalese red panda twins were born at the Auckland Zoo in New Zealand last month. We want them because OH MY GOD look how CUUUUTE! We need them because red pandas are a threatened species that's on the decline.
And it would absolutely be a travesty if we lost these cuties forever.
The twins' mom is 4-year-old Bo and their dad is 13-year-old Sagar. (Talk about barely legal red panda action! Maybe Sugar—as in the type of daddy—would have been a more appropriate name.) They have one older brother, Pabu.
"We're absolutely delighted Bo has had two healthy cubs and that she's proving once again, to be such a confident and attentive mother," gushes Auckland's Carnivore team leader, Lauren Booth.
The twins—whose sex won't be determined until March, when names will also be picked—have now opened their eyes and are moving around. "[They] will sometimes 'huff' at us," Booth says. "We know they're getting plenty ot eat, but they still have a lot more growing to do!"
The cubs will remain with mama Bo at the Auckland Zoo for some time before they're expected to travel off to another zoo to help continue the efforts to save their dying species.
Auckland says of their international breeding program:
"As zoos we work together to ensure genetic diversity is achieved for insurance populations like the red panda—which is vital, but it is an insurance policy, not a solution. Increasingly, we're part of conservation efforts in the wild. Auckland Zoo continues to grow its support of Red Panda Network, whose outstanding community education and forest guardianship programmes in eastern Nepal (key red panda territory) are playing a vital role in helping protect this species that's threatened by habitat loss and poaching."