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Reproduction in Red pandas, Ailurus fulgens (Carnivora: Ailuropodidae)

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Abstract

Several aspects were studied of the reproductive biology of the Red panda, Ailurus fulgens, in captivity at the National Zoological Park (NZP), Washington, D.C. over a six-year period. This species exhibits marked mating and birth seasons and produces litters averaging 1·7 with a sex ratio of 17·2 males to one female. Sexual maturity is reached in the second breeding season after birth or when animals are approximately 18 months of age. Growth, development and mortality of young are discussed. This study noted a wide range in observed gestation periods, averaging 131 days, which may be due to one or a combination of factors. Breeding behaviour is briefly noted and compared to that in other, related species. Predictions about reproductive and other life strategies of Red pandas in nature are drawn by fitting captive data into accepted ecological models.

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