Two endangered red panda babies die from hypothermia at Longleat

Tala and Sumi were born this summer at Longleat Safari park in Wiltshire  Credit: Lloyd Winters

Two red panda cubs have died from hypothermia at Longleat.

The safari park said the twins, called Tala and Sumi, were found dead in their nesting box by staff yesterday (15 December).

They were just a few months old, having been born at Longleat in the summer.

It comes after days of sub-freezing temperatures in Wiltshire, with the park saying the twins' mother Emma had stopped feeding them.

A spokesman for Longleat said: "Devastatingly, our twin red panda cubs, Tala and Sumi, have passed away.

"They were found deceased in their nesting box yesterday, with initial veterinary investigations pointing towards hypothermia and the weaning process, with mum Emma no longer offering supportive feeds as the most likely reason.

"Although it has been very cold on site, temperatures in the wild for these animals would go down to -15C.

"We’ve provided an increase in diet, shelter and bedding, however the cubs were mostly still dependant on their mum. Unfortunately, these animals have a very high mortality rate – only approximately one in five cubs survive to adulthood in the wild."

The pair were born to parents, Emma and Lionel, this summer as part of a breeding programme for the endangered species.

The spokesperson added: "We know so many of you have loved seeing these beautiful creatures for yourselves and will share our sadness in having to say goodbye to them.

"Thank you for your understanding at this time, especially for our keepers who formed such a special bond with them both."