Panda twins turn 1

Pair born last year at Vi­enna zoo have a big birth­day party

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

HEINZ-PETER BADER / REUTERS

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.

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