A popular giant panda at a theme park in South Korea has given birth to healthy twin girl cubs.
Historic moment: Ai Bao, who arrived at the Everland theme park in 2016 as part of a 15-year lease program from China, delivered her daughters on July 7.
The significant milestone, announced by the park’s operator on July 11, marks the first time twin pandas have been born in the country.
The 9-year-old mother is seen in a YouTube video picking up the first cub, weighing 180 grams (approximately 6 ounces), before delivering the second cub, weighing 140 grams (approximately 5 ounces), after an hour.
According to the park’s operators, the birth of the twin panda cubs has created a renewed opportunity to protect and preserve the giant panda species, which remains endangered.
Caring for the cubs: While Ai Bao and her adorable newborns are in good health, the resort group shared that it will closely observe the cubs before officially unveiling them to the public.
In the meantime, enthusiasts and giant panda lovers may view videos and images of the newborns on social media. Videos released online show the mother panda watching over her newborns. Veterinarians are also shown conducting examinations on the cubs to ensure they are in the best of health.
Ai Bao’s first baby: Ai Bao and her mate, Le Bao, had previously welcomed another female cub named Fu Bao in 2020.
“I am happy that many more people will become more interested not only in giant pandas but also other wild animals through the birth of the twin cubs,” Chung Donghee, head of the Everland Zoo, was quoted saying.
Before the twins’ arrival, Ai Bao, Le Bao and Fu Bao were the only giant pandas residing in South Korea.
Once faced with a population of fewer than 1,000 individuals, conservation efforts have increased the population to over 1,800, mostly situated in the mountains of Sichuan, China. While giant pandas typically have a life expectancy of approximately 15 years in their natural habitat, the care provided in captivity has enabled some to thrive and live up to an impressive age of 38.