Shin Shin, a female panda from Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo, gave birth to twins overnight Tuesday through Wednesday, an event in Japan that even sparked a reaction from government spokespersons.
The sex of the two babies has not yet been specified. Zoo workers “are currently doing everything they can to protect and observe the mother and her babies,” the animal park said in a statement.
This is the first time that panda twins have been born at Ueno Zoo. One of the small babies, weighing 124 grams, was placed in an incubator, a zoo spokesman later explained at a press conference.
Shin Shin is “in good health” and is taking good care of another baby, he added.
When pandas have twins, they usually raise only one, “so we have to make sure the mother breastfeeds one while we keep the other in the incubator,” a zoo spokesman said.
Babies will change regularly, so they should both enjoy breastfeeding.
This is the first birth of pandas at Ueno Zoo since the birth of female 2017 Xiang Xiang, which became the main attraction of the place before the pandemic.
The announcement of Shin Shin’s new pregnancy in early June has already hit the headlines in Japan, and along the way it has also benefited from the operation of certain restaurant chains on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
With popular restaurants next to the zoo, these companies should logically benefit from the influx of visitors in the future thanks to the expanded panda family. Their shares also jumped on Wednesday.
The birth of the twins is “welcome news,” Japanese government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said on Wednesday.
There are only about 1,800 giant wild pandas in the world, living in bamboo forests in mountain ranges in China, a specific natural habitat that is becoming rare, according to the environmental organization WWF.
Approximately 600 other specimens of this endangered species live in wildlife parks around the world.
China has a custom of long-term borrowing of giant pandas to foreign countries as a sign of friendship, a practice called “panda diplomacy”.