Philly zoo names baby red pandas Betsy and Ben, of course

A pair of baby red pandas at the Philadelphia Zoo have been named after two of the city’s most famous residents: Betsy and Benjamin.

Zoo officials said Friday that the monikers, which pay homage to Betsy Ross and Benjamin Franklin, received overwhelming support in a public naming contest.

Officials say the cubs’ birth on June 26 was important for red panda conservation, since the species is considered vulnerable in the wild. The brother and sister made their public debut Nov. 18.

Unlike giant pandas, red pandas are not members of the bear family. They are slightly larger than domestic cats and look similar to raccoons. They are native to Asia.

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