A BABY red panda has been taking its first steps to explore the outdoors after being born at a North Yorkshire zoo.

The male cub, who has not yet been named, has been climbing trees and exploring his environment under the watchful eye of his mum Tai Jang.

The youngster was born in June at Flamingo Land.

James Coleman, education officer, said: "The cub was born on June 17 so at three months this is the ideal time for our guests to see him.

"As our red pandas are arboreal they do spend a lot of time snoozing up in the trees and can be hard to spot. They are most active during the hours of dusk and dawn."

The animal's natural habitats in Nepal, China, Bhutan and India are being lost through deforestation and red pandas are also poached for their fur, skin and as pets, meaning there are just 10,000 left in the wild.

James added: "Our red pandas are part of an international breeding programme so as our cub gets older we will be moving him on to another zoo so he can father cubs of his own in the future.

"As the climate in the UK is similar to that of their natural habitat they do tend to thrive in captivity in this part of the world.

"Should it get too cold like it can in the Himalayas then our red pandas can wrap their fluffy tails around their bodies like a duvet to keep them warm.

"Here at the zoo our red pandas could live up to 14 years old whereas in the wild they tend to live for 8-10 years. Bai Jiao, our male, and Tai Jang, our female, are both six years old."