Lynley Bilby is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Red panda cubs born at Auckland Zoo

Two rare Nepalese red panda cubs have been born at Auckland Zoo, their entrance hailed as a valuable addition to the endangered animal's international breeding programme.

Zoo carnivore team leader Lauren Booth said the twin pandas were born last Thursday and everything was going well.

"By watching the nest box cameras we've set up, we can see they have both been suckling. We couldn't ask for a better mum in Bo," she said.

But it was going to be around 12 weeks before visitors to the zoo would be able to get a peek at the latest additions.

Ms Booth said red pandas developed slowly and were dependent on the mother for at least three months before they would venture out of their nest box and investigate the enclosure.

"We're keeping a regular watch on the cubs but taking a very hands-off approach so Bo can continue to do the great job she's doing."

A full vet check would not take place until late February to find out their gender.

The twins are the fifth and sixth offspring of six-year-old mum Bo and the final of 15-year-old Sagar who was euthanized in December.

- NZ Herald

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