If you have a deep love for animals, then it can sometimes be difficult to contain yourself when a pair of newborn giant panda twins make the headlines. With that in mind, animal loves should take a moment to prepare themselves as Berlin Zoo on Monday released the following photograph of Meng Meng and her two beautiful newborn cubs:
Image Credit: Berlin Zoo/EPA
“Meng Meng became a mom – twice! We are so happy, we are speechless,” the zoo said via a Tweet shared early Monday morning with attached video footage of the mother holding and interacting with the cubs. The news comes just weeks after a Belgian zoo announced the birth of two giant panda cubs under similar circumstances.
Here's a video provided by Berlin Zoo of Meng Meng handling her cubs:
Breeding giant pandas can be a particularly challenging task because they’re picky and uncooperative maters. This is a notable achievement for Berlin Zoo, not just because of how challenging it can be to get giant pandas to reproduce, but also because this marks the first time that a giant panda has delivered cubs in the country of Germany.
From what we can gather, Meng Meng delivered her first cub Saturday evening; the second followed almost an hour after the first. Zoo staff and veterinarians have been monitoring Meng Meng and her newborn cubs to ensure satisfactory health, and as it would seem, all is great so far:
“Meng Meng and her two cubs coped well with the birth and are all in good health,” commented Andreas Knieriem, the zoo’s director.
One of the cubs purportedly weighed just 136 grams, while the other weighed 186 grams. Zoo staff have not yet determined their gender, but this is a detail that will likely be publicized in the coming days or weeks.
While it’s extraordinarily beautiful to see a mother with her newborn cubs, it’s worth noting that Berlin Zoo won’t be allowed to keep the cubs forever. The zoo’s agreement with China dictates that panda cubs must be returned to China within four years of being born. There, they’ll get to wander the Chinese wilderness and fend for themselves.
Related: Giant panda habitats are being threatened by livestock grazing
The giant panda was once considered an ‘endangered’ species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), but their increased population count in the wild recently downgraded their conservation status to ‘vulnerable’ instead. As it would seem, their populations continue to increase in the wild despite very real issues such as land development and population fragmentation.