John Ball Zoo recently welcomed three ADORABLE red panda triplets -- and those little ones need names!

West Michigan native Kirk Cousins is helping to kick off the zoo's naming contest for the red panda babies, WZZM-13 reports.

The Minnesota Viking and former Michigan State University quarterback appears in a video with his family's suggestions for one of the cubs: Sparty.

John Ball Zoo says select donors who made the red panda habitat possible and zoo keepers also gave their name suggestions and now we get to vote on our favorites!

All three little ones are female. Which names are your faves?

  • Panda Cub One: Zoe, Rose, or Masala
  • Panda Cub Two: Sage, Pixie, or Ruby
  • Panda Cub Three: Ginger, Willow, or Sparty

We can vote for a name once per day here. Each vote is $1 and will aid in red panda conservation efforts. If you’d like to cast more than one vote for a particular name or you’d like to vote for more than one name, each vote costs $1.

Voting closes Sunday, August 30 at 11:59pm. The zoo says they will announce the winning names September 4th.

The red panda triplets were born at the zoo June 25, 2020.

Mom Wasabi, Courtesy of John Ball Zoo
Mom Wasabi, Courtesy of John Ball Zoo


They are mom Wasabi's first cubs; dad Wyatt fathered two other cubs previously.

John Ball Zoo said the birth is very exciting and significant for the zoo and the red panda species. Red pandas are endangered and it is believed there are less than 2,500 adult red pandas left in the wild.

Dad Wyatt, Courtesy of John Ball Zoo
Dad Wyatt, Courtesy of John Ball Zoo

Wasabi and Wyatt were matched at John Ball Zoo as part of the Red Panda Species Survival Program (SSP).

The SSP is one of the Association of Zoos & Aquarium’s many conservation programs. The SSP’s primary role is to serve as a breeding program for selected endangered or threatened species. The goal is to maintain a healthy and genetically diverse population for these animals in order to increase their numbers.


John Ball Zoo shared the above video of Wasabi and her cubs in the maternity den soon after they were born.

To stay updated on the we can stay updated on the red panda family, follow John Ball Zoo on Facebook and Instagram.

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