Say ‘Hello' to the Smithsonian National Zoo's New Red Pandas

What to Know

  • Two red pandas, Nutmeg and her baby, Jackie, made their public debut at the National Zoo.
  • Red pandas actually aren't closely related to giant pandas -- they're more similar to raccoons.
  • You can support the zoo's conservation programs by "adopting" a red panda for Valentine's Day.

Two new red pandas are the newest members of the cute crew of creatures at the Smithsonian National Zoo.

Nutmeg and her cub, Jackie, who was born last summer at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, made their debut Thursday, according to a zoo representative.

You can find Nutmeg and Jackie on the zoo's Asia Trail.

The zoo is celebrating the furry friends’ arrival by adding the small animals to their Adopt a Species program. A limited-edition Valentine’s Day-themed package, including a red panda toy, a personalized adoption certificate and a photo come with any package $65 and up. All proceeds benefit the zoo's conservation programs.

Jackie is one of three endangered red panda cubs born in June 2017 at the Conservation Biology Institute, where researchers develop new technology to preserve DNA for future breeding. The zoo predicts only about 2,500 red pandas are left in the wild, according to the institute’s website.

Members of this endangered species use their long bushy tails as blankets on chilly nights in the wild.

The red panda and giant panda are both adorable and fluffy, but Bei Bei is actually not closely related to Jackie and Nutmeg. Red pandas are more similar to raccoons, even though both pandas love to munch on bamboo.

A giant panda, orangutan and clouded leopard are also on the list of 13 species you can adopt at the zoo.

The deadline to adopt a red panda is February 5 at 3 p.m.

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