PORTLAND, Oregon — There's a new baby red panda at the Oregon Zoo, and it's time for him to get a name!
The zoo is hosting a "dub the cub" raffle to give Mei Mei's baby a name.
“Mei Mei has been a terrific mom so far, and her boy appears to be in great health,” said Amy Cutting, who oversees the zoo’s red panda area. “He’s curious and active, and he has been venturing outdoors quite a bit. Now we need to find a name that suits him.”
The cub was born on June 18 and weighed only half a pound at birth.
Red pandas are not only adorable, they're also considered an endangered species. The Oregon Zoo says populations have declinined by about 50% in the past 20 years. While exact numbers are uncertain, some estimates indicate as few as 2,500 may be left in the wild.
“Fifty years ago, red pandas had healthy populations throughout the eastern Himalayas,” Cutting said. “But they’ve been disappearing at alarming rates. Hopefully, we can start a new chapter in the conservation of a species that is sharply declining in the wild.”
The winner of the raffle will get to meet with Mei Mei's care staff and help them decide on a name. The winner will be announced on Friday, September 25, during Zoo Rendezvous, a free fundraiser the Oregon Zoo Foundation is putting on. The event is presented by Banfield Pet Hospital, KGW, PGE and The Standard, and the money raised will fund important enhancements to three new animal areas at the zoo, and support the zoo’s vital efforts in animal care, education and conservation. Raffle participants must be 18 years or older and must be in the state of Oregon at that time of purchase.
Enter the raffle here and start coming up with your name for the baby!