Nation & World News

Surprise! They’re Twins! … Pandas That Is

By Eyder Peralta on July 16th, 2013

It’s not exactly the birth the whole world is waiting for. But something pretty spectacular — and surprising — happened at Zoo Atlanta last night: Lun Lun, a 15-year-old giant panda, gave birth to twins.

As the zoo reports, “the cubs are the first giant pandas to be born in the U.S. in 2013 and the first twins to be born in the U.S. since 1987.”

Zoo keepers have yet to determine their sex, and Zoo Atlanta says it is sticking to the Chinese tradition of not naming the pandas until their 100th day.

Right now, the cubs look like a stick of butter. But soon enough, they’ll be terribly cute. The zoo adds:

“The cubs are the fourth and fifth giant pandas born at Zoo Atlanta. The first cub, Mei Lan, was born in September 2006. A resident of China’s Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding since 2010, Mei Lan was the first of the pair’s offspring to return to his parents’ native country. All five of Lun Lun’s and Yang Yang’s cubs have been products of artificial insemination.

“Fewer than 1,600 giant pandas are believed to remain in the wild, where funds from Zoo Atlanta are used to support giant pandas living in eight different nature reserves in China. In 2012, Zoo Atlanta received the distinguished International Conservation Award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for its long-term commitment to the species.”

You can watch Lun Lun care for her cubs at this live panda cam.

(And before anyone says it: Yes, this blog does have a thing for pandas. Evidence is here, here, here and here.)

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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