Two baby pandas, apparently females, were born at Beauval Zoo, in Loir-et-Cher, on the night of Sunday to Monday.

The two small plantigrades are a priori viable, although it will take about ten days to make sure.

Huan Huan, the mother, is doing well.

The twins were born: Huan Huan, the female panda loaned by China to the Beauval ZooParc (Loir-et-Cher), gave birth to two healthy babies on the night from Sunday to Monday.

The two small plantigrades come to enrich Beauval's panda family, already strong with their father Yuan Zi and their big brother Yuan Meng, born August 4, 2017.

"The first ten days are the sensitive period, but both babies are strong"

"The two babies are pink. Both are in perfect health. They are magnificent", reacted the president of the ZooParc, Rodolphe Delord, from the control center of the Center of reproduction and protection of pandas of Beauval. "The first ten days are the sensitive period, but the two babies, two little girls a priori, are strong and Huan Huan has a much better behavior. She has the gestures of a good mother. It's a nice birth," appreciated the head veterinarian of the zoo Baptiste Mulot, who will not be able to determine with certainty the sex of the small pandas for a few days.

Huan Huan first gave the first signs of unrest on Sunday around 5:30 p.m. Alternating activity and sleep, she finally lost water at 12:30 a.m. before giving birth to her babies at 1:03 a.m. Immediately, the babies were lively and squealed. A caregiver from the Chengdu Giant Panda Research Center, who came especially for the births, managed to seize one of the baby pandas to provide care and place it in an incubator. It weighed 149 grams, a "very reassuring" weight for a baby panda. "The bigger they are, the less fragile they are. They are in the upper range because they must weigh between 100 and 150 grams at birth," explained the veterinarian. The second little female, who had a little more time with her mother,was weighed at 128 grams.

Available to the public in a few weeks

The caregivers will now have to manage the health of Huan Huan and carry out regular rotations of the babies with their mother.

"They will be put in an incubator and they will go to suck their mother alternately. They will be monitored 24 hours a day before the public can see them in a few weeks," said Rodolphe Delord.

At the end of March, the two giant pandas, Huan Huan and Yuan Zi, one of Beauval's main attractions, had tried to mate.

Artificial insemination was also carried out as a precaution, the female being fertile only 24 to 48 hours per year.

It was through this technique that Huan Huan gave birth to her first twins, only one of whom was found to be viable.

Now 4 years old, the first panda born in France now weighs more than one hundred kilos.

Definitive names in 100 days

Since 2016, giant pandas are no longer "in danger" of extinction on the red list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

But the species remains "vulnerable", while 500 pandas live in captivity and 2,000 in the wild in China.

The two newborns from Loir-et-Cher will only have final names in 100 days. According to tradition, they will be chosen by the Chinese First Lady. As a sign that the birth is part of "panda diplomacy". China, which loaned Yuan Zi and Huan Huan for ten years to France in 2012, indeed uses its friendly two-colored bears as symbols of its diplomatic friendships.

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