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Huan Huan the panda gives birth to twins at zoo in France

Keepers at Beauval Zoo in central France were delighted by two new arrivals overnight, both in good health and being cared for by specialist panda midwife sent from China

The giant panda breeding centre in China sent an expert to assist with the new cubs at Beauval Zoo in France Pic: Amel PhotographyDz / Shutterstock

Huan Huan the panda loaned by China to Beauval Zoo in Loir-et-Cher has given birth to twins overnight.

The newborns take the number of pandas at Beauval to five, including their father Yuan Zi and big brother Yuan Meng which was born in 2017.

"Both the babies are pink. Both in perfect health. (...) They are beautiful", director of the zoo, Rodolphe Delord told franceinfo.

"The first 10 days are a sensitive time, but both of the young, seemingly two little girls, are stable and Huan Huan’s behaviour has much improved. She shows the signs of being a good mother. It was a good birth", said the chief vet Baptiste Mulot.

A midwife from Chengdu’s Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding has also come over from China to assist with caring for the newborns.

Signs that Huan Huan was going into labour began early on Sunday evening, at around 17.30pm. Her waters finally broke not long after midnight, with the first cub being born around half an hour later at 01.03am and the second following at 01.10am.

The babies were said to be lively and squealing straight away, weighing in at 149g and 129g. It will be a few more days until the sex of the panda cubs can be established with certainty.

"The bigger they are, the less vulnerable they are. They are in the upper range, as they need to weigh between 100 and 150 grams at birth", said the vet.

"They will be put in an incubator and suckle their mother alternately. They will be monitored 24 hours a day before the public can see them", said Mr Delord.

The two newborns are to be named within the next 100 days. Traditionally, this is a job given to the Chinese First Lady, the birth being part of so-called "panda diplomacy".

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Second cub due for French zoo’s celebrity panda couple this summer

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