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Rare panda twins getting more active every day
The twins are a boy and a girl. Photo: Schönbrunn Zoo

Rare panda twins getting more active every day

The Local · 29 Sep 2016, 12:28

Published: 29 Sep 2016 12:28 GMT+02:00

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Two months ago the panda twins were born blind and with only a thin fuzz over their pink bodies at Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna, the world’s oldest zoo. In the meantime the young animals have got their trademark black-and-white fur and have opened their eyes.

Zoo director Dagmar Schratter said: "The young panda bears slowly start to open their eyes when they are between 30 and 45 days old. However, the perception is restricted to light and dark contrasts."

The panda twins have also been getting more active day by day. They can be seen lifting their small heads, fidgeting with their small legs, and have been rolling around the belly of their mother Yang Yang.

Yang Yang has been leaving the breeding box several times a day in order to eat bamboo and drink, as well as to stretch her legs and take a break from nurturing her cubs. The zookeepers used the moment to take the first photos of the twins.

Although it is commonly known that Giant Pandas give birth to twins, the mother panda usually only nurtures the stronger of the two. Yet both of the cubs have been developing at a great pace.

It will take around two months until the small pandas can leave the breeding box and venture outside like their mother. The next step will be name-giving.

Discussions between Schönbrunn Zoo and its Chinese contractual partners are underway. Because the survival rate for pandas in the first few weeks is only 50 percent, the Chinese tradition is to only name the newborns after 100 days.

The birth of the panda twins was unique because only one week after the birth in August, zoo keepers found out Yang Yang actually gave birth to twins. They became suspicious when they heard sounds coming from the breeding box that indicated a second cub.

The pandas are the fourth and fifth to be born at the famous zoo following Fu Long in 2007, Fu Hu in 2010 and Fu Bao in 2013.

Zookeepers say the baby pandas were probably conceived in March, when the mother Yang Yang and father Long Hui were spotted mating enthusiastically on several occasions.

It is extremely rare for pandas to mate in captivity and the zoo described Yang Yang and Long Hui having sex as "sensational".

Often pandas can only be bred by zoos using artificial insemination, which makes the new panda twins a special and extremely rare case.

Story continues below…

Story courtesy of Central European News. 

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