Have you been waiting to see the youngest members of the Bao panda family at Everland? At last, the twin panda cubs Lui Bao and Hui Bao have been brought out to meet the public. After six months of patient waiting and watching the young sisters grow big and strong through social media, human visitors to Panda World can see them in real life.
First panda twins
On July 7, Everland’s Panda World was excited to see the birth of the first panda twins in Korea conceived through natural breeding. At around the hundredth day after the birth of the twins, they were given their new names, Lui Bao (睿寶) and Hui Bao (輝寶), which mean “wise treasure” and “shining treasure.”
Panda mothers can usually only take care of one cub at a time, and pandas are usually born before they are physically mature enough to survive apart from their mothers, so the Everland zookeepers and Ai Bao initially took turns taking care of one twin each. By November, the babies were strong enough for Ai Bao to take care of both at once.
Already, Lui Bao and Hui Bao have grown from their birth weights of less than 200 grams each to over 11 kilograms. Milk teeth have appeared in their mouths and they have started showing an interest in bamboo, chewing on stalks just like their mother.
Coming out little by little
Speaking of Hui Bao and Lui Bao, Kang Chul-won, a zookeeper known affectionately as “the panda grandfather,” says, “They have grown healthy enough to walk alongside Ai Bao and start going out to their outdoor enclosure.”
To prepare them for their introduction to the outside world, Kang and his colleagues have been gradually bringing them to bigger spaces from December. First, they left the delivery room where they were born and moved into a roomier place with their mother, where they started exploring their environment. This gave Ai Bao a chance to take a break from full-time infant care to step outside and chew leisurely on some bamboo shoots.
Kang Chul-won explains, “Ai Bao always goes ahead and takes a look around and then shows the twins that the way is safe,” adding, “Hui Bao and Lui Bao are leaning on each other to quickly adapt to their new environment.”
For the time being, the twins are only going out for a few hours each morning with their mother. During this time, a limited number of visitors will be allowed into Panda World to see them. This will give the young cubs time to learn about being near humans. As they become accustomed to their new circumstances and as they continue to grow healthy and strong, the available viewing time is expected to be extended.
Because pandas by their nature are often solitary creatures, and older sister Fu Bao is already almost four years old, visitors will not see her in the same space at the same time as her younger siblings. But Fu Bao will continue to be available for viewings by her fans, separately from Hui Bao and Lui Bao. There will even be some special times when all five pandas living at Everland – mother Ai Bao, father Le Bao, first daughter Fu Bao, and the twins – will be out in public at the same time.
A spokesperson from Everland Zoo said, “Our zookeepers and veterinarians will take extra special care so that all members of our panda family, including Ai Bao, Hui Bao and Lui Bao, can adapt to their new environment and circumstances and grow healthy and strong.”