Giant panda twins celebrate first birthday at Schoenbrunn zoo

Updated 2017-08-08 10:34:40 Xinhua

A pair of panda twins, born last year here at Schoenbrunn zoo, celebrated their first birthday on Monday with a big party.

Being treated with their favorite foods, the panda twins lied leisurely in their pen to receive their guests, including visitors and media workers.

The birth of panda twins, Fu Ban and Fu Feng, in 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 leave 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 in Austria in 2003.

So far, no other European zoo has successfully managed to breed five giant pandas naturally. 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 mystery, and a hot topic for local media. But some attributed it to Vienna's livable environment.

Naming the cubs has been a big issue for the zoo, which followed Chinese tradition to give the first three male cubs names of 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 an internet vote.

The giant panda's keeper Renate Haider told Xinhua that Yang Yang was doing very well in taking care of the twins, leaving less work for the keepers team.

She said it was not easy to identify the twins, but she managed to find ways to recognize them by different behaviors. 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 10cm 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.

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