Kovler Lion House, at Lincoln Park Zoo, is home to an important pair of siblings. Born June 26, the Red Panda cubs are the first of their kind born at Lincoln Park Zoo. The male and female are the offspring of first-time dad, Phoenix, and experienced mom, Leafa.
The endangered duo currently isn’t visible to the public, nor will they be for some time. Instead, they’re cuddled up in a behind-the-scenes den with mom Leafa, as is typical for the species. They can remain in this cozy space for up to three months, with mom periodically leaving to feed or tend to other needs.
Thanks to a special camera in the den, though, staff can keep an eye on the tiny new arrivals. Red Panda cubs weigh 4-5 ounces at birth and are fully furred, although their coat is yellow as opposed to the bright red of adults. The little ones’ eyes are closed for the first 18 days of life, meaning they’re totally dependent on mom in the crucial early weeks.
The tiny Red Pandas were recently given names in honor of their hometown, Chicago. Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise, is located at the iconic intersection of the streets Clark and Addison. It seemed fitting to name Chicago's other cubs (Red Panda- that is) in honor of the legendary American team. Lincoln Park Zoo's new male cub has been named Clark, and his sister is now known as Addison.
Sharon Zackfia, a committed supporter of Chicago’s free zoo, selected the city-centric names. “As a longtime lover of Red Pandas, I could not be more excited to have the honor of naming Lincoln Park Zoo’s first-ever Red Panda cubs,” she notes. “I am so proud to be a supporter of an institution that has brought so much joy and knowledge to the families of Chicago.”
The cubs themselves continue to do well in their behind-the-scenes den. Curator of Mammals, Mark Kamhout, reports that Clark and Addison are receiving great care from mom Leafa and continuing to hit new milestones. “Their eyes are open now, which is a big development for Red Panda cubs, and it looks like they’ve doubled in size since their physical last week.”
This tree-dwelling species spends most of its time in the branches, gathering bamboo shoots and leaves that make up the bulk of its diet. Clark and Addison, though, are currently thriving on a diet of mom’s milk behind the scenes. That will likely be the case for the next two months. The special den camera continues to let caregivers keep tabs on the growing cubs—and share videos with fans of the cubs! Visit www.lpzoo.org/redpanda to see the latest updates and increasing activity from the growing pair.