Though he entered the world nearly four months ago, one of the Detroit Zoo's cutest cubs is just venturing out into the public eye.
Sherman, a baby red panda, was born on June 22 to mom Ta-Shi, who is seven, and Chewbacca, who is six and goes by "Chewy." The cub was difficult to spot before the seasons changed and leaves fell in his wooded habitat near the tigers, according to staff at the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak, Mich.
Red pandas are a different species from bears, and little Sherman will only grow up to be about the size of a cat. With marked faces and ringed tails, they look somewhat like raccoons, a relative of the species. Though red pandas lead solitary lives in the wild, little Sherman isn't ready to leave his mom yet:
Red pandas make their home in mountainous areas of China, Nepal and Myanmar. A threatened species classified as "vulnerable," the population is expected to decline at a rate of 10 percent over 30 years, prompting the zoo to bring Chewy to Detroit to mate with Ta-Shi in January.
“Chewy and Ta-Shi wasted no time getting to know each other,” said Robert Lessnau, the Detroit Zoological Society curator of mammals.
Check out the Detroit Zoo's other young ones below, and meet KayDee, another red panda born this month in Oklahoma named after an NBA player.