Berlin Zoo welcomed rare pink twin giant panda cubs to the world on Saturday, the first time a panda has given birth in Germany.
Mother Meng Meng gave birth for the first time after a 147-day pregnancy, according to an announcement from the zoo Monday.
About half of panda births produce twins, but in the wild a mother would let the weaker twin die.
In the 1960s, when the first four panda reserves were established in China, only 30% of infant pandas born at breeding centers survived. These days that figure is 90%, thanks to advances in knowledge and technology.
Breeding experts from China’s Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding Zoo have stepped in to help six-year-old Meng Meng look after both cubs.
The pair are taking it in turns to spend two or three hours at a time with Meng Meng, and both cubs are “lively and alert,” according to vets.
Meng Meng and her cubs will be kept out of view of visitors until further notice, the zoo said.
However, panda fathers do not raise their children, so Meng Meng’s partner, nine-year-old Jiao Qing, will remain in the Panda Garden.
The twins, whose sex has not yet been determined, haven’t been named.
Although Meng Meng and Jiao Qing did reportedly have close contact during her fertilization period, scientists at the zoo also carried out artificial insemination to increase the likelihood of pregnancy, according to a press release.
The cubs will spend up to four years in Berlin before leaving for China, where they will join the panda protection program.