Panda twins turn 1
Pair born last year at Vienna zoo have a big birthday party
VIENNA — A pair of panda twins, born last year at Schoenbrunn zoo in Vienna, celebrated their first birthday on Monday with a big party.
Being treated with their favorite f oods, the panda twins lounged in their pen to receive their guests, including visitors and media workers.
The birth of the panda twins, Fu Ban and Fu Feng, last August, pushed the number of giant panda cubs naturally bred in Vienna to a new high of five.
Three of them were sent back to China when they were big enough to l eave their mother.
The birth of the panda twins also proved the successful adaption to the new life in Austria of their parents, Yang Yang and Long Hui. The panda couple arrived i n the European nation in 2003.
So far, no other European zoo has successfully managed to naturally breed five giant pandas. In Europe, most pandas are bred through artificial insemination.
Even in Vienna, how the panda pair was able to complete their historic task without human intervention remains a mystery, and a hot topic for local media.
Naming the cubs has been a big issue for the zoo, which followed Chinese tradition to give the first three male cubs the names Fu Long, Fu Hu and Fu Bao, which mean lucky Dragon, Tiger, and Leopard respectively. But when it came to the twins, the zoo turned to the public to solicit name suggestions through a vote on the internet.
The giant panda’s keeper Renate Haider said that Yang Yang was doing very well taking care of the twins.
She said it was not easy to identify the twins, but she managed to find ways to recognize them by their different behavior.
Fu Ban is brave but sleepy, and Fu Feng sometimes likes to hide, Haider said. Fortunately, their mother treats them equally.
In December, the cubs’ father, 16-year-old Long Hui, died during an emergency examination. According to the zoo, there was a tumor measuring 10 centimeters in his abdomen.
The zoo currently has no plan to find a stepfather for the cubs, as they are still young.
Giant pandas have helped raise the reputation of the Schoenbrunn zoo. In 2009 and 2010, it was voted Europe’s best zoo.
Giant Panda Yang Yang approaches parcels containing food on the occasion of her twin cubs’ first birthday at Schoenbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria, on Monday.