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Giant panda gives birth to 'rare' twin cubs

A newborn panda twin cub with its mother Image copyright Reuters

A giant panda has given birth to a pair of twin cubs at a zoo in Belgium.

Pairi Daiza zoo announced the arrival of the "extremely rare" cubs, a male and a female, on Friday.

The next few days for the cubs will be crucial, Pairi Daiza said. The animals and the mother, Hao Hao, will be monitored by staff to ensure that she cares for the cubs properly.

Eric Domb, president and founder of Pairi Daiza, said in a statement: "The double birth is wonderful news for this extraordinary species that is still threatened today.

"We're very proud."

A zookeeper feeds a baby panda Image copyright Getty Images

The cubs were born on Thursday. The male cub weighed 160 grams, while the female arrived two hours later weighing 150 grams.

In order to give Hao Hao a rest, zookeepers will put one of the cubs at a time in an incubator and feed it with a bottle.

A mother panda holds her baby cub Image copyright Reuters

Hao Hao was inseminated in April. The twins are the second and third cubs that she has given birth to at Pairi Daiza. She is currently on a 15-year loan from China.


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The two panda cubs Image copyright Reuters

According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are fewer than 2,000 pandas left in the wild.

In 2016, the status of giant pandas was changed from endangered to vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The mother and one of her newborn twins Image copyright Pairi Daiza Zoo

All images copyright.

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