Two red panda cubs at the Lincoln Park Zoo are born to love the Chicago Cubs. Like their two siblings born the previous year, the names of the cubs, revealed Tuesday, were inspired by Wrigley Field.
Sheffield and Waveland were named after the respective east and north streets bordering Wrigley Field, the home field of the Chicago Cubs.
The two were born on June 24 inside the zoo's Kovler Lion House and are the second red panda litter born to 6-year-old mother Leafa and 4-year-old father Phoenix.
Just over a year ago, red pandas Clark and Addison were born at the zoo. Like the new siblings, they were named after the streets bordering Wrigley Field by Lincoln Park Zoo donor and Cubs fan Sharon Zackfia.
Eight months later, Clark was moved to the San Diego Zoo and Addison to Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo as part of a conservation and breeding plan developed for the species by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Since Sheffield and Waveland were born, zoo employees have been mostly hands-off to give Leafa private time to nurse and bond with her newborn cubs in their behind-the-scenes den.
One exception was on July 26, when the cubs received a general health exam and were measured by zoo staff. The brother and sister weigh about one and a half pounds each, but are growing fast.
Red pandas are solitary, mostly nocturnal animals that are slightly larger than domestic cats. Although they may look like a mix between a racoon and a panda bear, red pandas are not part of the Procyonidae (raccoon) or the Ursidae (bear) biological families. Instead, they're the sole surviving species within the Ailuridae family.
Visitors to the Kovler Lion House can see the cubs' father Phoenix hanging around the red pandas' outdoor exhibit, but catching a glimpse of Leafa and her two cubs depends on how the mother feels.
“The decision is Leafa’s as to when the cubs will be on exhibit, as she will carry them out of the nest box/den,” the zoo’s curator of mammals, Mark Kamhout, wrote in an email.
Follow Evan Garcia on Twitter: @EvanRGarcia
June 22: The Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed the birth of a female zebra on Saturday. It's the first zebra birth at the zoo since 2012.
May 20: With fewer than 1,000 Bactrian camels estimated to be living in the wild, the species is classified as critically endangered. On May 9, a Bactrian camel calf was born in Chicago.
Feb. 16: Say so long to the adorable red panda cubs captivating visitors of the Lincoln Park Zoo. Soon, the almost 8-month-old cubs will be leaving town.