FRONT ROYAL, Va. (WUSA9) -- Rusty the Red Panda, who gained attention after he escaped the National Zoo last year, is now a father of three newborn cubs.

This is the first litter Rusty has 'sired' at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, zoo officials said.

Shama, the female Red Panda, is the mother of the cubs.

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"Keepers had been monitoring Shama closely the past few weeks since her behavior indicated she might be pregnant. Keepers are observing the cubs via a closed-circuit camera, and the cubs appear healthy," officials said.

More than 100 Red Panda cubs have been delivered at SCBI. Sixty have survived.

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