Good news for the conservation of one of the most beloved creatures on earth! A giant panda has given birth to two cubs at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo in Japan.
Last Wednesday, 15-year-old Shin Shin gave birth to tiny twin cubs. The event marks the first time that twins have been born at the zoo.
“Baby giant pandas are very small when they’re born, so the staff will be watching over them around the clock for a while to make sure they will be growing healthily,” said zoo director Yutaka Fukuda.
The birth of the two cubs calls for celebration since pandas are notoriously difficult to breed, both in the wild and in captivity. This is because the females enter heat only once a year and can be picky about their partners.
The species is classified as “vulnerable,” with only a few thousand remaining. With that said, the animal population has been recovering in recent years, thanks to the tireless efforts of conservationists.
Because it is unusual for giant pandas to care for two cubs at once, the zoo has been keeping one of the newborns in an incubator until the other finishes feeding. They then swap places.
“It is said that in most cases, when twins are born, only one will grow up. In order to raise both of them, we need to have one panda always be held by Shin Shin. We will have them take turns to nurse while the other one will be in an incubator,” said the zoo’s spokesperson Naoya Ohashi.
Image source: BBC