French Zoo Releases New Pictures of 2-Week-Old Panda Twins: 'They Are Lively and Energetic'
A French zoo is sharing a closer look at their adorable panda twins.
The newborn twin cubs — Fleur de Coton and Petit Neige — were photographed on Friday at the Beauval Zoo as they slept in an incubator. The baby pandas now weigh 310 and 296 grams, and they are "doing very well," per a release from the zoo.
"It's fascinating to watch them evolve. Their physical transformation is visible day by day," according to the statement, which notes that since the crucial first week of development is over for the cubs, the zoo is optimistic the twins will continue to grow up healthy. "They are lively and energetic twins. It's wonderful to see them come to life a little more each day."
As of now, the twins spend a little bit of time with their mother before they are placed back in incubators to rest. The cubs' eyes are still closed.
Giant panda Huan Huan gave birth to the female twins at the Beauval Zoo on August 2. Both cubs arrived into the world "lively, pink, and plump" and weighed in at 149 and 129 grams. Huan Huan handled the birth well and picked up the cubs in her mouth to clean them shortly after the baby animals were born — a promising sign that the mom's maternal instincts are hard at work.
"We just lived a moment of rare intensity. These births are always very exceptional, but they also bring some surprises," Delphine Delord, director of the Beauval Zoo, said in a statement to the Associated Press.
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The twins arrived after a particularly successful mating season for Huan Huan and the cubs' father, Yaun Zi. Both mom and dad are on loan to the Beauval Zoo from China for ten years. In March, the zoo announced that the panda partners mated eight times and that veterinarians artificially inseminated Huan Huan with Yaun Zi's sperm to ensure the best chances of a panda pregnancy.
As part of ongoing conservation efforts, the panda twins will move to China once they are a few years old.
Chinese officials announced in July that since the number of giant pandas in the wild had surpassed 1,800, the species will be reclassified as "vulnerable," according to NBC News, and will no longer be considered endangered.