KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Things are about to get even more adorable at Zoo Knoxville!
Keepers there will soon be busy raising not one tiny red panda cub, not two, but four!
A female cub born on June 14 at Boyd Family Panda Village is already being raised by keepers because she and her twin weren't thriving with their mother. Unfortunately, the twin died, but the little girl is doing well.
She'll do even better when she has some companionship. In the wild, red pandas usually give birth to twins, so they are often raised together, according to curator Sarah Glass in a video posted by Zoo Knoxville.
On Friday, the zoo will bring in Marvin, who was also born with a twin at the Idaho Falls Zoo on June 29. That twin also died, and the first-time mother rejected Marvin. He's been getting great care at his zoo, but he will do better raised with another cub.
That process is called peer-rearing, and Zoo Knoxville is one of the best zoos in the entire world at breeding and raising red pandas.
The little pack would have been completed with just two, but now two others will also join the group.
The zoo was just notified on Tuesday that two 8-week-old cubs at the Cleveland Zoo had just lost their mom and would need to be hand-raised, so they will be transported to Zoo Knoxville soon.
Ironically, the mothers of the three orphan cubs were hand-raised at Zoo Knoxville in 2013 before being sent off to other zoo homes.
Glass said that Marvin will likely go back to Idaho Falls when he is weaned.
Zoo staffers arrived in Idaho Falls on Thursday to feel officials there and finalize the travel arrangements to bring him back to Knoxville. They are documenting the journey on the zoo's Facebook page.
As you can see in the video below, the folks at the Idaho Falls zoo are sad to see him go, but they are doing what's best for the cub.
As with all threatened or endangered species at Zoo Knoxville and other accredited zoos, their placement and breeding are managed as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP). It's a cooperatively-managed breeding program between facilities to ensure healthy and diverse bloodlines.