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Giant panda at Zoo Atlanta gives birth to twins

  |   July 16, 2013 at 1:44 AM
ATLANTA, July 16 (UPI) -- Lun Lun, one of Zoo Atlanta's giant pandas, gave birth to twins Monday, the zoo said in a statement.

The newborns are the fourth and fifth offspring for 15-year-old parents Lun Lun and Yang Yang.

"The first of the tiny duo arrived at 6:21 p.m., and its twin followed at 6:23 p.m. The cubs are the first giant pandas to be born in the U.S. in 2013 and the first twins to be born in the U.S. since 1987," the zoo said.

"The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams are currently caring for one of the cubs in the nursery unit in the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Center; Lun Lun is currently caring for the other. Assisting Zoo Atlanta staff is an animal care colleague from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding where Lun Lun and Yang Yang were born. Lun Lun is an experienced and capable mother, but she has never before given birth to twins, which are not unusual in her species."

"We're thrilled to welcome Lun Lun's and Yang Yang's twins," said Raymond B. King, president and chief executive officer of Zoo Atlanta. "This is a success we share with all of our fellow zoological organizations working to understand and protect this iconic species, and we share our joy with our local community and with our colleagues in China. Twins are an entirely new scenario for Lun Lun, Zoo Atlanta and our animal care teams, who will no doubt be extremely busy over the next few months."

The zoo said if necessary animal management teams will rotate the cubs' time with their mother to ensure they receive equal shares of maternal care without overexerting Lun Lun.

Visitors can expect to get their first glimpses of the baby pandas this fall.

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