Zoo Berlin's Twin Pandas Pit and Paule Turn 1: They 'Have Grown Very Dear to Us'
This panda duo is growing up so fast!
On Monday, twin brother pandas Pit and Paule turned one, celebrating at their Zoo Berlin home with a giant beetroot-juice ice cake with carrot candles and bamboo bunting.
According to the zoo, which has documented the baby boys from pink newborns to fluffy, black-and-white adolescents, the twins have packed on more than 150 times their birth weights. Aside from their healthy celebratory "cake," the growing bears were gifted a giant pile of snow from the penguin exhibit, which the zoo said they "clearly enjoyed."
"It became apparent early on that Paule was the much more active and adventurous of the two, but Pit has caught up well," Norbert Zahmel, the zoo's division head, said in a press release.
"Our two real-life Berlin bears Pit and Paule have grown very dear to us over the past year," Dr. Andreas Knieriem, the zoo's director, said. "I would like to use this happy occasion to personally thank all our supporters — at home and away."
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Their mother panda Meng Meng welcomed the twin boys on Aug. 31, 2019, after a 147-day gestation period.
"The joyous event came just one week after experts from Zoo Berlin and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) were able to perform an ultrasound scan that determined Meng Meng was indeed pregnant," a zoo press release read at the time. The previous release on Meng Meng’s confirmed pregnancy had stated she was only pregnant with one cub.
"Meng Meng and her two cubs coped well with the birth and are all in good health," Knieriem said in a statement at the time. "Even though these are the first offspring born to our young female panda, she is already doing a wonderful job as a mum."
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The German zoo took in the cubs’ parents, Meng Meng and panda dad Jiao Qing, on loan from China in 2017 as part of the country’s "panda diplomacy."
The zoo paid $15 million to host Meng Meng and Jiao Qing for 15 years; that money helps fund a conservation and breeding research program for the animals in China, The Guardian previously reported. The two babies will be sent back to China four years after weaning off Meng Meng as part of the agreement, the outlet said.