CHICAGO — Two tiny and adorable baby pandas were born at the Lincoln Park Zoo Friday, the zoo announced Wednesday.
The two cubs — who as of yet are of unknown sex and have not been named — weigh between four and five ounces, a zoo release said.
The red pandas are the first born at Lincoln Park Zoo in its 147-year history.
A camera in a den shows two baby red pandas born Friday at the Lincoln Park Zoo. [Lincoln Park Zoo]
The cubs were born to the zoo's resident red pandas, three-year-old father Phoenix and five-year-old mother Leafa. The adult pair made their debut at the zoo just before Valentine's Day after being transferred from Houston Zoo.
Lincoln Park Zoo followed a breeding recommendation from the Red Panda Species Survival Plan, which oversees the species' zoo population.
But keepers remain cautious after the birth.
“We are ecstatic to welcome the two red panda cubs to the world but, as with any birth, are cautiously optimistic,” said Mark Kamhout, curator of mammals in a written statement. “The first weeks are critical as there are many vital milestones the little ones must cross.”
Red panda Leafa is mother to two new babies at the Lincoln Park Zoo. [Lincoln Park Zoo/Jill Dignan]
The red panda babies will remain in a den with Leafa, monitored by zoo staff, for several months, relying entirely on her for care.
The cubs aren't yet red, but covered in yellow fur. Their eyes will remain closed for about three weeks, the zoo said.
When ready, they'll join father Phoenix for public viewing. Phoenix is currently on display at the Kovler Lion House.
Red panda Phoenix is a new father to two babies born at the Lincoln Park Zoo Friday. [Lincoln Park Zoo/Jill Dignan]
Red pandas look similar to raccoons, but aren't related to that species or pandas. They come from the Himalayan mountain range and face habitat loss and poaching in the wild.
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