Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Zoo welcomes twin giant panda cubs

This photo released by Zoo Atlanta on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 shows twin panda cubs born Monday to the zoo's resident giant panda Lun Lun, the first twin pandas born in the United States since 1987, zoo spokeswoman Keisha Hines announced. Hines said zookeepers who had been anticipating only one cub based on a recent ultrasound were surprised by the first-ever twin panda births at Zoo Atlanta. (AP Photo/Zoo Atlanta, Adam K. Thompson)
This photo released by Zoo Atlanta on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 shows twin panda cubs born Monday to the zoo's resident giant panda Lun Lun, the first twin pandas born in the United States since 1987, zoo spokeswoman Keisha Hines announced. Hines said zookeepers who had been anticipating only one cub based on a recent ultrasound were surprised by the first-ever twin panda births at Zoo Atlanta. (AP Photo/Zoo Atlanta, Adam K. Thompson)

Two giant panda cubs are being rotated between their mother and an incubator to ensure the newborn twins are properly fed and getting an equal amount of nurturing, Zoo Atlanta officials said.

Lun Lun, a 15-year-old giant panda, gave birth to the cubs on Monday.

An ultrasound confirmed her pregnancy in June but officials said they were unaware she was having twins until the second cub was born minutes after the first.

The cubs are the first giant panda twins born in the US since 1987.

Zoo Atlanta's deputy director, Dwight Lawson, said both cubs appear to be healthy.

But officials are taking precautions because of a high infant mortality rate among baby pandas.

The cubs will not be named until they are 100 days old, in keeping with a Chinese tradition, Mr Lawson said.

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