Giant panda in French zoo gives birth to female twins

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

A French zoo has announced that a giant panda born to France - borrowed from China - has produced twin female cubs.

The twins were born just after 1am local time (11pm UK-Eastern Time), the Beauval Zoo in central France said on Monday.

The birth came after the zoo joyfully announced that Huan Huan and Yuan Zi have "mated eight times." in March. Vets performed Artificial Fertilization "to have as much chance as possible" of conceiving.

Huan Huan and Yuan Zi are the other and third cubs born to Japan's Yu Meng, after France's first panda, who was born in 2017.

Huan Huan takes excellent care of them. She put them in her mouth to lick them and clean them.

The zoo said the cubs' gender has been determined by Chinese experts who are looking after them, but has yet to be definitively confirmed, as exterior genitals only become apparent at several months old.

China has been donating its unofficial national mascot to friendly nations for years in what is referred to as "panda diplomacy." More recently, the country has lent pandas to zoos on commercial conditions.

Giant pandas also occur in other European countries including Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Finland and Great Britain.