Workers at a Norfolk zoo are "absolutely overjoyed" after the arrival of an endangered red panda cub.

The cub was found nestled with first-time mother Mithila on June 28 at Banham Zoological Gardens.

The birth follows a successful pairing of Banham's resident male Jasper and Mithila, who came from a Swedish zoo, as part of the European Breeding Programme for the species in January.

Within months the pairing proved successful with the birth of a healthy young cub.

Red pandas are classified as "endangered" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (ICUN) Red List of Threatened Species due to habitat loss and hunting for their meat and fur.

Oliver Lewis-McDonald, team leader of carnivores at Banham Zoological Gardens, said: “We are absolutely overjoyed to announce the birth of a red panda cub.

"The European Breeding Programme is instrumental in saving this endangered species, whose wild populations are believed to have decreased by 50pc in less than 20 years.

“Mithila and her cub are currently being given the utmost privacy in their nest boxes.

"Red panda cubs usually spend their first few months hidden in the nest before going out to explore their surroundings, but in the meantime, visitors may be able to catch a glimpse of Mithila moving her precious cub between boxes.”

Banham's male red panda Jasper came to the park in 2015 and has previously fathered three cubs in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

These cubs have gone on to help save the species through the breeding programme at other collections in Europe.

Red pandas are the original panda, having been discovered some 50 years before the giant panda.

Unlike the giant panda, red pandas are arboreal, meaning they spend most of their time in trees.

Mr Lewis-McDonald added: “Red pandas are one of our most loved species at the park, popular with visitors for their fluffy bodies and distinctive red colour.

“Recently the team gave this precious new arrival its first health check and we are delighted to report that we have a very healthy little female cub.”