It’s two girls! Panda twins born at Everland

Twin giant pandas have been born at Everland Zoo, a first for Korea. Proud panda parents Ai Bao (爱宝, age 9, female) and Le Bao (乐宝, age 10, male) mated naturally, without artificial breeding techniques, and in the early hours of July 7 Ai Bao gave birth to two female cubs. The first weighed 180 grams and the second, born about 110 minutes later, 140 grams. The mother and babies are all healthy, according to Everland officials.

You can see a video of the magic moments of the twin births here:

Finding a panda mate

Pandas famously have difficulty breeding because a female is fertile for only a small window of opportunity each spring, usually between 1 and 3 days. Given the small number of pandas out in the wild, a chance meeting and mating at the right time has become a rare event, so zoos and animal parks have gotten involved.
After mating in spring, a panda pregnancy lasts about 4 months, which is why almost all pandas are born in July or August. Including the latest arrivals, the birthdays of all the residents of Everland’s Panda World are in July.
Panda cubs are very small; these twins weighed 180 grams (left) and 140 grams (right) respectively.
As soon as Ai Bao showed the early signs of a possible pregnancy, namely increased sleeping and poor appetite, she was closely monitored, not only by her normal zookeepers and veterinarians at Everland but also by panda experts dispatched from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, also known as Dujiangyan Panda Ark.

Pandas in Korea

This is the first time that twin giant pandas have been born in Korea, but it is the second time that Ai Bao has become a mother. Her first child, Fu Bao, was born on July 20, 2020 , weighing in at 197 grams. Fu Bao is now a much sturdier 98 kilos. Parents Ai Bao and Le Bao came to Korea from Dujiangyan Panda Ark in 2016.

Proud panda parents Ai Bao (left) and Le Bao (right) have been in Korea since 2016.
Pandas have a 40-50 percent chance of giving birth to twins. In recent years, such pairs of panda cubs have been born in France and Japan, and in 2014 the world’s first panda triplets were born in China.
If panda twins are born in the wild, often only one of the pair survives because the mother finds it difficult to care for both. However, panda research institutions and zoos are able to increase the survival rate of both by using artificial feeding techniques.
An Everland spokesperson said, “Both mother and twins are in good condition,” adding, “Ai Bao is using her experience raising Fu Bao to care for her new babies, and zookeepers plan to provide her with postpartum care and support.”

When will the public see them?

The twin panda cubs underwent a health inspection shortly after birth.
Everland zookeeper Kang Chul-won, known affectionately as Fu Bao’s grandfather, is excited about the new arrivals, commenting, “I am so happy about the first birth of twin baby pandas in Korea three years after the birth of Fu Bao.” He added, “We will take good care of them so that they can all become a panda family giving hope and happiness to many.”
Naturally, when new pandas arrive the public wants to see them. But for the time being Everland will not bring the twin cubs out to the public, focusing on giving them round-the-clock care and monitoring by experts at Panda World so that they can grow healthy and strong.
Depending on the health and growth of the twins, Everland will review the timing of their presentation to adoring audiences. Fu Bao was first introduced to admirers at the Panda World visitors’ center at about six months after she was able to walk on her own and had started eating bamboo.
The freshly born twin giant panda cubs receive a cleaning from mother Ai Bao.

In the meantime, curious panda fans can monitor the growth of the twins and how the panda family is doing through the YouTube channels Everland and Talking Zoo Ppuppa TV .

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