Panda Gives Birth to Twins for First Time at Berlin Zoo

The rare birth was recorded on camera at Berlin Zoo who confirmed the babies are doing well in a statement on Monday. Announcing the births on Twitter, delighted staff said:

Panda gives birth to twins at Berlin Zoo

“Meng Meng became a mom – twice! We are so happy, we are speechless.”

The births are particularly rare as it is notoriously hard to breed pandas. Meng Meng went into labour over the weekend and delivered her first cub on Saturday evening, with the second following around an hour later. Zoo director Andreas Knieriem said:
“Meng Meng and her two cubs coped well with the birth and are all in good health.”

A handout picture made available on September 2, 2019 shows the new born panda twins after their birth on August 31, 2019 by their mother Meng-Meng at Berlin Zoo, Berlin, Germany. Berlin Zoo/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

Pandas are born with pink skin and very fine white hair, with their tails appearing disproportionately long against their tiny bodies. The twins’ genders have not yet been determined but the zoo was able to confirm the two cubs weighed in at 136 and 186 grams.

Meng Meng is on loan to the zoo from China. She arrived in Berlin alongside male panda Jiao Qing in June 2017. China has dispatched pandas to only a handful of countries as a symbol of close relations. The zoo pays $15 million (Around £12.4 million) for a 15-year contract to host the pandas, with most of the money going towards a conservation and breeding research programme in China.

While the cubs are born in Berlin, they remain Chinese and must be returned to China within four years of being weaned. China has previously given three pandas to Germany but the last one, Bao Bao, died in Berlin in 2012 at the age of 34 – the oldest male panda in the world. About 1,864 pandas remain in the wild in China, up from around 1,000 in the late 1970s, according to the environmental group WWF. Just over 400 pandas live in zoos around the world, in conservation projects set up with Beijing.