South Korea: Giant panda gives birth to twins in a first 2
Between 40% to 50% of panda births result in twins. Image: Everland Resort/Xinhua/picture alliance

In South Korea, a giant panda gives birth to twins—a first in the country

A South Korean zoo welcomed the first giant panda twins to be born in the country.
Deutsche Welle | Jul 12 2023

A giant panda has given birth to twin cubs at a South Korean Zoo, the first to be born in the country.

Ai Bao gave birth to female twins at the Everland theme park near the capital Seoul on Friday, the zoo announced on Tuesday. 

"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.

Both Ai Bao and her newborns are in good health. 

Ai Bao, Le Bao and Fu Bao had been the only pandas in South Korea.
Ai Bao, Le Bao and Fu Bao had been the only pandas in South Korea. Image: Yonhap/picture alliance

Ai Bao came from China on a 15-year lease

Years of dedicated conservation work in their natural habitat and detailed research in captivity have helped rescue the giant panda species from the brink of extinction. 

The population has grown from under 1,000 at a certain point to over 1,800 now, living both in the wild and in captivity. 

As a part of what is known as "panda diplomacy," China has been sending these animals abroad as a sign of goodwill since the 1950s.

Ai Bao and her male mate, Le Bao, came to South Korea as a part of the program in 2016. Ai Bao gave birth to a female cub, Fu Bao, in 2020.

"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.

He added that Ai Bao's delivery was smoother this time than during her first pregnancy. 

The cub's health and growth conditions will be observed, which will determine when to unveil them to the public, the South Korean resort group said. 

ara/lo (AP, Reuters)