Saint-Aignan (France) (AFP)
Huan Huan, a giant panda on loan to France, gave birth to twins very early on Monday, according to Beauval Zoo.
The twins, born around 1 a.m., are the third cubs of Huan Huan and his partner Yuan Zi after the first panda ever born in France, Yuan Meng, in 2017.
“The two babies are pink. They are in perfect health. They look pretty big. They are magnificent, ”said Rodolphe Delord, president of Beauval Zoo-Parc in Saint-Aignan, in central France.
Breeding pandas, in captivity or in the wild, is notoriously difficult, as experts say few pandas are in the mood or even know what to do when they do.
To further complicate matters, the conception window is small since female pandas are only in heat once a year for around 24 to 48 hours.
Huan Huan and his partner Yuan Zi – Beauval’s star attractions – delighted zoo officials in March when they managed to make “contact”, as they say, eight times in a weekend.
The vets also performed artificial insemination, just to be sure.
Huan Huan’s first cub, Yuan Meng, now weighs over 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and is due to be sent to China this year, where 1,800 giant pandas are estimated to live in the wild and another 500 in captivity .
Huan Huan’s newborns won’t be named for 100 days, and Peng Liyuan – the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping – is expected to choose her name, the zoo said.
© 2021 AFP