Japan Times - Twin cubs born to a rare giant panda called Mei Xiang were doing well Sunday, vocal and “very, very active” after the surprise back-to-back births at the Smithsonian National Zoo, her handlers said. The cubs were successfully swapped out early Sunday after being closely monitored through the night by experts concerned about their mother’s ability to care for both offspring at the same time. “We’ve all been involved in events that don’t go well. So we’re ecstatic that things are going great,” said the zoo’s chief veterinarian, Don Neiffer. He said the cubs had shown “very strong vocalization” and were “very, very active,” good signs for a species that is famously challenging to breed in captivity.
A first tiny cub — pink, hairless and only about the size of an adult mouse — was born at 5:35 pm (2135 GMT) Saturday and Mei Xiang reacted by tenderly picking it up. Just when conservationists thought they had heard all the good news, the zoo tweeted: “We can confirm a second cub was born at 10:07. It appears healthy. #PandaStory.” Laurie Thompson, a giant panda biologist at the zoo, said she became aware a second cub was on the way when she heard Mei Xiang grunt on her office panda cam. “I looked over at the camera and out popped a cub,” she said. “So we immediately jumped into, ‘Okay, what do we do now.’ We watched to see how Mei Xiang would handle two. “We gave her a little bit of time to actually see if she would pick both cubs up, but she was really struggling. “She was trying, but she wasn’t able to pick up both of the cubs. So we did go in and at the right moment we were able to go in and pick up one of the cubs when Mei Xiang was not really close to it.”
The cubs were switched out again at 6:30 am on Sunday, zoo officials said. While panda twins are not uncommon in the wild, they need intensive maternal care after birth, making survival precarious. Experts feel the best way to keep both cubs alive is to keep swapping them, so they each get quality time with their mother. Mei Xiang had a cub in 2005 that was sent to China, and another, Bao Bao, is now 2 years old and lives with her in Washington.
Stock market? More like SOCK market, amiright? Who gives a fuck about my parents losing my inheritance and the world burning to the ground, Mei Xiang gave birth to not one, but TWO baby pandas! Oh happy days are here again! Bao Bao has new brothers or sisters, just so wonderful. There’s not much better in the world than new baby pandas. Money can be printed every day, but baby pandas are as rare as me getting laid. And the fact she had two brings a tear to my eyes. Two new lil cute panda cubs. Best day ever.