Panda twins ‘baptised’ at Vienna zoo

Panda twins 'baptised' at Vienna zoo
Photo: Tiergarten Schönbrunn
Two pandas conceived naturally and born at Vienna zoo, Fu Feng and Fu Ban, have been officially baptised, 100 days after their birth.

The twin cubs were absent from the ceremony attended by China's ambassador, however, with the male and female being kept away from the public's gaze until the end of the year.

“The names bring good fortune and it is a special sign that the twins were born in the 45th year of the diplomatic relationship between the People's Republic of China and Austria,” ambassador Li Xiaosi said.

The name for the female, Fu Feng (Happy Phoenix), was chosen by the zoo while her brother's name, Fu Ban (Happy Companion), was selected by an online ballot of 12,000 people.

It was decided not to name them before they were 100 days old since around half of newborn cubs die. Today they weigh five and six kilos (11 and 13 pounds) respectively, up from 100 grams at birth.

Not only are Vienna's Giant Pandas a symbol of the friendship between China and Austria – they are also a magnet for tourists. According to vice-chancellor and minister of tourism Reinhold Mitterlehner: “This year already about 800,000 tourists from China visited Austria, next year we will cross the one million line.”

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