South Korean zoo welcomes giant panda twins


A South Korean zoo said on Tuesday it had recently welcomed the first giant panda twins to be born in the country.

The twins, both female, were born at the Everland theme park near the capital Seoul on Friday, the zoo announced in a video on its YouTube channel.

"This feels like a great opportunity to call for better protection and preservation of pandas, which have become a symbol for endangered species," Donghee Chung, the head of the zoo, said.

The first twin weighed 180 grams and the second, which arrived nearly two hours later, weighed 140 grams.

Between 40 per cent to 50 per cent of panda births result in twins, Chung said.

China has been sending its black and white ambassadors abroad in a sign of goodwill since the 1950s as part of what is known as "panda diplomacy".

The birth of the twins comes nearly three years after Fu Bao, the first panda to be born in South Korea, came into the world with the same parents Ai Bao and Le Bao.

"Compared to when Fu Bao was born, there are two of them this time and I think (the parents) must be twice as happy," zoo keeper Cherwon Kang said.

The mother Ai Bao's labour has been smoother than during her first pregnancy, Kang said, adding that he felt moved by the way she handled the delivery.

Fu Bao is due to be returned to China by July next year at the latest, the zoo said.

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