When Maya and Medea were born on June 3, 1997, there was much cause for celebration—red pandas had not been born at the Zoo in more than 43 years! Their mother, Maria, was one of eight western red pandas housed at the Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES) off-exhibit facility, part of a program to study the species' reproductive behavior, endocrinology, and physiology, and breed the endangered species. When she demonstrated behaviors that signaled she was ready to mate, she was paired with Ponya, a male that had showed interest in her from a nearby enclosure. Maria proved to be an attentive mother, too, even though this was her first litter, and she raised Maya and Medea with care. By the time the two female cubs were three months old (seen here, wrestling in a crate they liked to use as a sleeping nest), they were curious and playful, if still a bit clumsy. By five months of age, they were eating solid food and had grown so much it was hard to distinguish them from their mother.