Zoo Atlanta had been expecting their Giant Panda, Lun Lun, to give birth to a single cub so you can imagine the surprise when she produced not one but two healthy cubs. The fifteen-year-old panda delivered her first cub and began cuddling with it when to caretakers’ surprise; she delivered a second cub just two minutes later.
According to an ultrasound administered to Lun Lun in June, zoo staff saw only one cub. This marks the first time twin panda cubs have been born at Zoo Atlanta. They are the first giant panda cubs born in the USA in 2013 and the first twins born in the USA since 1987. The genders are not currently known but the cubs weighed in at a combined 8.6 ounces.
Zoo Atlanta expects the cubs will be ready to make their first public appearance sometime in November.
Both mother and cubs are doing well. Lun Lun is caring for one of her cubs. Zoo staff has stepped in and taken control of caring for the second. They felt it was safer for the second cub since Lun Lun has never given birth to or cared for twins before.
Deputy Director Dr. Dwight Lawson of Zoo Atlanta says the cubs’ weights are good and they appear strong healthy. He says they are off to a great start.
Yang Yang, the cubs’ father, is also fifteen years old. He is also the father of two other cubs born to Lun Lun: Xi Lan, 4 and Po, 2. In keeping with Chinese tradition, the new cubs will not be named until they are 1q00 days old.
With less than 1600 giant pandas worldwide, Zoo Atlanta is proud of their newest additions and sees them a sign of hope for this endangered species.