First two Chinese panda babies born in German zoo

Authors: China Daily

2019-09-03

The six-year-old giant panda Meng Meng, sent by China to Germany in 2017 together with male panda Jiao Qing, gave birth to twin panda cubs, the first-ever panda cubs born in Germany, Zoo Berlin announced Monday morning.
According to a press statement issued by Zoo Berlin, the first panda cub was born on 31 August at 6:54 pm (GMT 0454) following a gestation period of 147 days. Less than an hour later, the second cub was born. The cubs weigh 186 and 136 grams respectively, and seemed lively and alert. Their genders have yet to be determined.
"Meng Meng became a mom-twice! We are so happy, we are speechless," Zoo Berlin tweeted on Monday morning.
The panda couple mated in April and later artificial insemination was also performed on Meng Meng to boost the likelihood of pregnancy, revealed by Zoo Berlin earlier in August.
Immediately after giving birth, the new mother knew just what to do: she placed the tiny creature gently on her belly and began to warm it lovingly with her big paws and breath, and the soft fur of her cheeks, according to the press release.
"Even though these are the first offspring born to our young female panda, she is already doing a wonderful job as a mom. In the beginning, the cubs have to be fed roughly every two to three hours and are dependent on the body heat of their mother to keep warm," said Andreas Knieriem, director of Zoo Berlin.
As pandas that give birth to twins usually only raise one of the cubs, Zoo Berlin has decided to actively support Meng Meng in the rearing process in close cooperation with Chinese experts from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
"What fantastic news! The whole of Berlin is delighted about the new arrivals," Berlin's mayor Michael Mueller was quoted in the press statement as saying.
Meng Meng and the cubs will be temporarily out of sight for visitors until further notice.

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