Announcing the unusual birth of twin pandas at the Tokyo Zoo | Science and Ecology | DW

15-year-old giant panda Shin Shin gave birth to twins at Japan’s oldest zoo on Wednesday, and the mother and two babies are said to be in good health. “I was relieved when Shin Shin carried his baby,” said Yutaka Fukuda, director of the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, adding that he was “really surprised and happy when the second was born.”

Since it is rare for a panda to breastfeed two cubs at the same time, one of the twins was placed in an incubator. The zoo has not yet revealed the gender of the twins. The twins have another brother. Shin Chen and his partner of the same age, Ri Ri, are the parents of 4-year-old Xiang Xiang. Panda breeding is incredibly complex and pregnancy is difficult.

A giant panda in Tokyo gave birth to a baby in July 2012, but died of pneumonia just six days later. Shin Shin and Ri Ri have been on loan from China since 2011. Pandas are loved in Japan. The zoo, along with shops and restaurants, is anticipating an influx of much-needed visitors. Even the Japanese government was delighted, and a spokesperson described the news of the birth as “extremely positive.”

EL (dpa, NYT)

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