Happy news on the giant-panda front: One such panda on loan to France from China gave birth to twin female cubs early Monday, per the AP. "They are very lively, pink, and plump," says the Beauval Zoo, south of Paris. The cubs weigh 5.3 ounces and 4.6 ounces. Their mother Huan Huan and father Yuan Zi are at Beauval on a 10-year loan from China aimed at highlighting good ties with France. The twins are their second and third cubs after the first panda ever born in France, Yuan Meng, in 2017. "Huan Huan is taking care of them very well," the zoo said in a statement. "She took them in her mouth to lick them and clean them. We can hear little cries." Giant pandas have difficulty breeding, and pregnancies don't always result.
Only about 1,800 pandas are thought to be living in the wild in China and about 500 in captivity worldwide. The cubs, who won't be named before 100 days, will spend a few years in France before being sent to China, the zoo said. Other nations in Europe also have giant pandas, including Austria, Britain, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Finland. China for decades gifted friendly nations with its unofficial national mascot in what was known as "panda diplomacy." More recently the country has loaned pandas to zoos on commercial terms.
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