A giant panda named Ai Bao just gave birth to female twins at Everland Panda World in South Korea. This is the first time panda twins have ever been born in the country, according to a statement released by the Samsung C&T resort group which operates the park. The group has also reported that both mother and babies are healthy and doing well.
The tiny infants, born July 7, are the result of a pairing between Ai Bao and her mate Le Bao, who have been at the theme park since 2016 as part of a 15-year lease program. They are also the parents of Fu Bao, who was born in 2020. These five pandas are the only members of the species in the country.
The cubs aren’t on display yet; their caretakers will monitor their health and growth before determining when the twins can be seen by the public. Once that happens, we’re sure the 14 million people who have already visited Everland to see the pandas will want to return. Until then, the park is sharing news about the panda family over social media.
In this video from the resort group you can see the mom’s preparations for childbirth, the keepers’ care and the cubs’ earliest moments. While the video is in Korean, it gives you a visual peek into the life of the mother and babies. You even get to see Mom holding one of the babies in her mouth!
It turns out that today is Ai Bao’s birthday, so there’s even more to celebrate! In these images, you can see how small the baby pandas actually are.
According to the Smithsonian National Zoo and Institute for Conservation Biology, panda cubs are just 3 to 5 ounces when born — 1/900th the size of their mother! They are also relatively helpless. Cubs tend to be born singly or as twins, and they arrive into the world pink and hairless and don’t even open their eyes until they are 6 to 8 weeks old. They aren’t mobile until three months of age, and they stay with their parents for three years.
Giant pandas are considered a vulnerable species, after having been upgraded from their endangered status following population growth and reassessment in 2016. They’ve been attracting fans in the U.S. since Ling-Ling and Hsing-Shing came to the National Zoo in 1972.
It’s a well-known fact that pandas aren’t great at mating, and their survival instincts aren’t the sharpest either. This means that every birth is an important event.
Important, yes, but also adorable — especially once they get a bit bigger and grow some fur. Congrats to Everland Panda World on this exciting development. We’ll be waiting for additional updates!