The Zoo is back with a much-needed dose of adorable as Animal Planet's hit series kicks off with a two-hour season premiere giving viewers an inside look at the world-famous Bronx Zoo on Saturday, April 4. Ahead of the Season 4 premiere, PopCulture.com has an exclusive sneak peek at some of the newest and fluffiest arrivals at the Prospect Park Zoo — two red panda cubs!
The two male cubs were born over the summer to mom Willow, and while the zoo might be closed to visitors for the time being, The Zoo viewers can get a behind-the-scenes look at their birth, first days inside their den and even first adventure outside into their habitat. With red pandas appearing both on the endangered species list as well as the IUCN Red List, these sweet baby boys are acting as ambassadors for the zoo to do all that it can to protect, raise awareness, and educate the public on these creatures.
Zoo staff suspected that Willow's babies might have come when she didn't come out of her nest box all day, but the good news was finally confirmed when she showed off her little ones on the cameras inside her den.
"For the first two weeks, we allow the mom to just spend time with them," Cory Scott, senior keeper explains of the days ahead. "We could watch through our cameras and make sure that they are nursing and we know that she is taking care of them."
He continues of the zoo's process, "Around three to four weeks we'll go in to make sure that the cubs are doing well, allow the vet to look at them and make sure that there's nothing that we can't see on the cameras to make sure that they're healthy."
There will be plenty of other "firsts" on this season of The Zoo, including the hatching of Roti Island snake-necked turtles, a "functionally extinct" species, as well as the arrival of Bala, the fourth cub of snow leopard, K2. Keepers will also be challenged to create a toy for an anteater named Velcro that will keep him enriched while showcasing his amazing tongue to the public as well as perform the first known allergy test on a rhinoceros named Penny who is experiencing skin sensitivity.
The Zoo returns with a two-hour season premiere airs on Animal Planet this Saturday, April 4 at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the premiere, Animal Planet is airing a marathon of The Zoo and The Zoo: San Diego's past episodes to get fans all ready for the new season.
Photo credit: Animal Planet