Two giant pandas were born in a zoo in Saint-Aignan, France. Panda Huan Huan gave birth to healthy twins in the early morning, says the zoo.
“The two are pink and healthy,” says Director Rodolphe Delord. “They look big enough. They are beautiful.”
China lent Huan Huan and the male Yuan Zi to the zoo in 2012. In 2017, they had a young as well. That was the first baby panda to be born in France. That young is going to China this year.
Giant pandas are very difficult to reproduce. According to experts, the animals are hard to get into the mood, and sometimes they dont even know what to do. In addition, females are fertile only a few days a year.
To the delight of the zoo, centrally located in France, about 230 kilometres south of Paris, Huan Huan and Yuan Zi had “eight contact in a weekend” in March. To be sure, the female was also artificially inseminated.
See a photo series of the young panda twins here:
Its not clear what the sex of the animals is. The two youngsters havent received a name yet. It will last for the next hundred days. According to the zoo, Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, invents the names for the twins.
Until recently, giant pandas were an endangered species. Earlier this month, China took the species off the list, but the country still mentions the population vulnerable. There are around 1,800 giant pandas living in the wild and about 500 in captivity.
Since the 1950s, China has had a breeding program with pandas in captivity. Animals are also lent to international zoos. As a diplomatic gesture (“panda diplomacy”) but also in the hope that panda boys are born.
That was successful last year in the Netherlands. Xing Ya and Wu Wen got the male Fan Xing at Ouwehands Zoo. That was the first time in the Netherlands. All three pandas remain the property of China.