It’s always an exciting day at a zoo when an animal gives birth. Nothing beats the excitement of having a new, adorable baby animal.
But one zoo in France has double the reason to celebrate this week, after a giant panda gave birth to not one but two baby panda cubs!
The Beauval Zoo, south of Paris, announced Monday morning that panda Huan Huan, on loan from China, had given birth to twin female cubs, weighing in at 5.3 and 4.6 ounces. The zoo reports that they are “very bright, pink and plump.”
According to the zoo, this is Huan Huan’s first birth in four years, when she had her first child Yuan Meng.
Giant pandas are famously difficult at breeding: females only have a 24-72 hour period in which they can get pregnant every year, so any new birth is a big deal.
Also, while giant pandas are no longer listed as endangered, they are still a vulnerable species with only 1,864 pandas left in the wild, so any new birth is another positive step towards repopulation.
The zoo says the panda babies have been dubbed “Cotton Flower” and “Little Snow,” although they will receive their official names in 100 days, in accordance with Chinese tradition.
Following the birth, Huan Huan has been taking care of her young ones. However, when a giant panda has twins they typically only care for one, abandoning the other. But the zoo has been helping the new mom out by looking after one of her babies while she has the other.
“She can hardly take care of all 2 babies at once,” they explained on Facebook. “Thus while one of the little ones is with his mom, the other one is placed in a cubby.” The zoo vets are able to replicate the mother’s attention as best as possible, bottle feeding the babies her milk.
Congratulations to Huan Huan on the birth of these two beautiful babies! Share this story if you love pandas!