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Berlin Zoo calls China to determine baby pandas’ gender

  • September 27, 2019

Berlin Zoo researchers are not able to determine the sex of the two baby pandas that were born this month, but scientists from the Chinese city of Chengdu will provide assistance, zoo spokeswoman Anna Ohl said on Friday.

The Berlin Zoo is hoping to announce the gender of the twin pandas within two weeks.

Six-year-old giant panda Meng Meng, who arrived in Germany in 2017 on loan from China, gave birth to the cubs on August 31.

It was the first time that panda bears were born at the Berlin Zoo, marking a significant and meaningful moment for the institution, as well as the city.

Aside from helping determine the sex of the baby pandas, the two scientists from Chengdu will also stay in touch with Berlin Zoo to help rear the animals for an additional six months, Ohl told the German dpa news agency.

Read more: German media call to name Berlin’s new pandas Hong and Kong

Eating, sleeping and cuddling

Zoo staff has posted regularly about the cubs and on Friday, they shared a video on their twitter page of the babies spending time with mom.

The baby pandas can be seen growing into their characteristic black and white spots, with their eyes still closed. The cubs will remain blind for another couple of weeks.

A week after the birth, staff described the cub’s schedule as “eat, sleep, cuddle, repeat.” Zoo attendants have assisted Meng Meng with the routine, as pandas are usually accustomed to dealing with only one cub.

Read more: Panda bears: Not as mysterious as we once thought

“Although I have witnessed the birth and rearing of many animals during my time as a veterinarian, the relationship between mother bears and their cubs never fails to fascinate me,” Zoo and Tierpark Director Andreas Knieriem said.

“Big, powerful bears turn into loving, sensitive mothers when their offspring arrive — and our Meng Meng is no exception,” he added.

The cub’s father, 9-year-old giant panda Jiao Qing, is not involved in the rearing of cubs, which is normal for their species, the zoo said.

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