As if Maiya—a recovering red panda cub living at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia—wasn’t already completely adorable, the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 2-month-old has recently been photographed with a cuddly new companion: a same-species stuffed animal.
In November, Amala, a beloved red panda at the zoo, gave birth to Maiya. At first, the little one was happy and healthy. Not long ago, however, she was traumatically injured while being carried in her mother’s mouth.
“The mum was actually carrying the cub around by the scruff of the neck, which is a common way that red panda mothers do carry their babies,” Tamara Gillies, Maiya’s keeper, told ABC News. “Unfortunately, her saliva or something [got] into the skin folds [and] caused a wound on the cub’s neck.”
After assessing the wound, veterinarians and zoo staff made the difficult decision to temporarily separate mom and baby, leaving Maiya with no other red pandas to snuggle up to—that is, until she made a particularly plushy little friend.
Check out the zoo's Instagram here!