Twin panda cubs have been born at Berlin zoo, the first ever in Germany.
The first panda cub arrived at 6.54pm on Saturday, with its sibling arriving shortly after.
“Meng Meng and her two cubs coped well with the birth and are all in good health,” said veterinarian and Tierpark Director Dr Andreas Knieriem.
“Even though these are the first offspring born to our young female panda, she is already doing a wonderful job as a mum.”
The cubs weigh 186g and 136g respectively, and the sexes have not been determined yet.
As pandas that give birth to twins usually only raise one of the cubs, Chinese experts of giant panda breeding at Zoo Berlin have decided to actively support six-year-old Meng Meng in the rearing process.
This involves putting the twins in a rotation alternating between being with their mum, and snuggling in a cosy incubator whilst being looked after by the Chinese breeding experts
Dr Knieriem said: “In the beginning, the young have to feed roughly every two to three hours and are dependent on the body heat of their mother to keep warm.”
With only 1,864 pandas in their natural habitat, the birth is not only seen as an accomplishment for Zoo Berlin, but also one for panda conservation as a whole.
“As a result, every single new cub represents an important contribution to the conservation of the species,” said Knieriem.
Berlin’s Mayor Michael Müller expressed his joy and congratulated Zoo Berlin in celebration of the newborn panda cubs, exclaiming:“What fantastic news! The whole of Berlin is delighted about the new arrivals.”
Once the pandas no longer need their mother, they will be returned to China.
The twins’ nine-year-old father Jiao Qing, was spotted relaxing and munching on bamboo, and will not be involved in the cub rearing.