Huan Huan, a giant panda loaned to France, gave birth to twins very early on Monday, according to the Beauval Zoo.
The twins, born around 1 am, are the third cub of Huan Huan and her partner Yuan Zi after the first panda ever born in France, Yuan Meng, in 2017.
“The two babies are pink. They are very healthy. They look big enough. They are beautiful,” said Rodolphe Delord, president of Zoo-Parc de Beauval in Saint-Aignan, central France.
Reproduction of pandas, in captivity or in the wild, is notoriously difficult, as experts say few pandas get in the mood or even know what to do when they do.
Complicating matters further is that the window for conception is small, as female pandas only go into heat for about 24-48 hours once a year.
Huan Huan and her partner Yuan Zi — the top attractions in Beauval — were thrilled in March when they managed to “connect,” as they called it, eight times in a weekend.
Vets also performed an artificial insemination just to be safe.
Huan Huan’s first cub, Yuan Meng, now weighs more than 100 kilograms and will be sent to China this year, where an estimated 1,800 giant pandas live in the wild and another 500 in captivity.
Huan Huan’s newborn babies won’t be named for another 100 days, and Peng Liyuan – wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping – will get to choose their names, the zoo said.