Twin panda cubs in Austria officially given names at ceremony

Updated 2016-11-24 14:08:36 Xinhua
Photo taken on Nov 6, 2016 shows twin panda cubs Fu Feng (Left) and Fu Ban who were born at the Schoenbrunn Zoo, Austria, on Aug 7. (Photo/Xinhua)

Photo taken on Nov 6, 2016 shows twin panda cubs Fu Feng (Left) and Fu Ban who were born at the Schoenbrunn Zoo, Austria, on Aug 7. (Photo/Xinhua)

Twin panda cubs, born at the Schoenbrunn Zoo, on Aug 7, have officially been given names at a ceremony on Wednesday.

The female cub is called Fu Feng meaning "fortunate phoenix," while the male cub is "Fu Ban" meaning "fortunate half" or "fortunate companion."

The latter name had been chosen by the public via an online poll held by the zoo. The prefix "fu" has become traditional for panda cubs born here.

Alongside zoo staff, dignitaries such as Chinese Ambassador to Austria Li Xiaosi, as well as Austrian Vice-Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner took part in the ceremony.

"The names are lucky, and it is a special sign that the cubs were born on exactly the 45th year of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and Austria," said Li.

He said the name fans chose for Fu Ban -- "fortunate companion" -- means they may wish for the two siblings to remain together.

Mitterlehner said the cubs are an expression of friendship between the two countries, and also an attraction for tourists.

He noted that Austria has attracted about 800,000 tourists from China this year, which is expected to top the one-million mark in 2017. The panda cubs are expected to draw interest worldwide, he added.

Zoo director Dagmar Schratter said she is commonly asked when guests will be able to see the cubs directly and not just via camera footage, as at present they live in a hollow trunk that guests cannot see directly into.

She said once they are big enough, they will make their own way around their enclosure, something that could occur by the year end.

She noted that the cubs had already been playing together, and also that their mother Yang Yang is doing well and is becoming more relaxed since the birth.

The zoo will further celebrate the birth of the twins with a family festival on Nov. 27.

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