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National Zoo’s red pandas named “Pili” and “Damini” for stormy night

Cubs, first day out of den

Thunder, lightning and strong winds greeted the National Zoo’s two female red panda cubs when they were born June 17, and that stormy night has now determined their names. One cub, Pili, received her name today after voting closed on NBC Washington’s website. Pili, which means “clap of thunder” in Chinese, was the winner among four names—all storm-related—with 30 percent of the vote. A Zoo supporter named Pili’s twin sister Damini, which is Nepalese for “lightning.” Red pandas are native to the cool, temperate bamboo forests of Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar and Nepal. Only about 2,500 remain in the wild. Red panda enthusiasts can watch cubs and their parents, Shama and Tate, on the Zoo’s red panda webcam.