From ZOO ATLANTA – July 15, 2013 – Lun Lun, a 15-year-old giant panda, gave birth to twins on July 15, 2013. The first of the tiny duo arrived at 6:21 p.m., and its twin followed at 6:23 p.m. The cubs are the first giant pandas to be born in the U.S. in 2013 and the first twins to be born in the U.S. since 1987. The cubs are the fourth and fifth giant pandas born at Zoo Atlanta. All five of Lun Lun’s and Yang Yang’s cubs have been products of artificial insemination.
On Thursday, the zoo confirmed that both cubs are male – continuing an all male birth record for Lun Lun and Yang Yang.
Lun Lun Gives Birth to Twins
The cubs are being “swapped” between time with mom and time in the nursery to ensure that both of the cubs have the best chance at survival and are being adequately fed and nurtured. While twin births are common in Pandas, it is very difficult for giant panda mothers to care for both cubs. Typically, in the wild, only one of the twins survives. By rotating the twins in and out of Lun Lun’s care, they will both be able to nurse and receive her nurturing, but will also be protected, fed, and cared for by keepers when they are away from mom.
The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams caring for the tiny twins report that the cubs appear to be healthy and doing well with their new regimen. They also report that Lun Lun is being a protective mother, “posing occasional challenges for staff as they attempt to rotate the cubs on a regular schedule”.
Caring for the Twins
Zoo Atlanta Members and guests can expect to meet the cubs in late fall. The newborns’ father, 15-year-old Yang Yang, and older brothers Xi Lan, 4, and Po, 2, remain on exhibit and will not be housed with Lun Lun or the cubs. This separation is normal for giant pandas, which are solitary in the wild.
All Images © Zoo Atlanta