French footballer Kylian Mbappé will be the godfather of one of the panda twins born on August 2 at the Beauval zoo, the zoo's deputy director told AFP on Wednesday.

The Chinese Zhang Jiaqi, gold medal in synchronized diving 10 meters at the Tokyo Olympics, will be the godmother of the other baby panda.

Both will unveil the final Chinese names of the young plantigrade at an official ceremony scheduled for November 18.

“This 'naming ceremony' will be private, by invitation,” the zoo said in a statement.

“The health of the panda twins is still good.

The little ones weigh a little over 4 kilos each.

Their eyes are now wide open and they are starting to move, ”says the zoo.

“It is an honor for Beauval that such athletes lean on the cradle of our baby panda.

Their commitment highlights, especially with young people, the importance of protecting endangered species and biodiversity, ”Delphine Delord, deputy director of the Beauval zoo, told AFP.

In December 2017, First Lady Brigitte Macron baptized Yuan Meng, the twin's older brother born on August 4 of the same year in Beauval to a couple of pandas on loan from Beijing, Huan Huan and Yuan Zi.

The French public will decide on the first names

Baby names are traditionally Chinese names chosen by the First Lady of China, Peng Liyuan.

This time, it is the French public who, for the first time, will decide on the first names, specifies the zoo.

The public can already comment on a list of 10 Chinese names posted on the zoo's website and previously selected by the Chinese Association of Zoological Parks.

Beauval's teams had temporarily given the females the names “Little snow” and “Cotton flower”.

China, which loaned Yuan Zi and Huan Huan for ten years to France in 2012, uses its two-colored bears as symbols of its diplomatic friendships.

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.

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Keywords: deputy director, godfather, zoo, footballer, public, beauval, chinese, zhang jiaqi, baby pandas, french, panda twins, one, other, mbappé, diving champion