Huan Huan, a giant panda, loaned to France by China, gave birth to twins in the night from Sunday to Monday. The cubs, born about 1 a.m., are bringing the offspring of the panda female and her mate Yuan Zi to three, Beauval Zoo in central France reports.
“The two baby bears are pink, very healthy, look big enough and are beautiful,” said president Rodolphe Delord of Zoo-Parc de Beauval in Saint-Aignan to AFP news agency.
The zoo’s leadership was overjoyed in March when Huan Huan — “happy” in Chinese — and her partner Yuan Zi managed to make, as she called it, “contact” eight times in a weekend. Vets also performed artificial insemination just to be safe.
In captivity or in the wild, reproduction of pandas is tricky because few specimens, experts say, “get in the mood” or know what to do in that case. In addition, the extremely short time frame for fertilization makes it extra difficult. Panda females are fertile for about 24-48 hours only once a year.
Huan’s twins won’t be named for 100 days. Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, can choose their names, the zoo said. The cubs have a big brother Yuan Meng, who was born on August 4, 2017. He was the first panda ever born in France. His parents are the star attraction at the zoo between Tours and Bourges.