Macau’s giant panda Xin Xin, a gift from the mainland in 2014, gave birth to twin cubs on Sunday.
The news was announced on the website of Macau’s home affairs department. It said Xin Xin gave birth to the first cub, weighing 135 grams, at 3.45pm on Sunday.
The second cub was born about 45 minutes later and weighed in at 53.8 grams – less than half its sibling’s weight. Their gender was not yet disclosed by department officials.
A department statement described the younger cub as “very light compared to the average birth weight of a panda cub” and therefore needing extra care.
“The veterinarians confirmed that Xin Xin and the larger panda cub were in good condition, while the smaller one would be taken care of 24 hours a day,” it added, noting the panda-caring team in Macau was “very excited”.
The cubs were described as “pink in colour and resembling mice”, while “Xin Xin looked very proficient with the cubs and showed her motherly nature”.
Macau’s pandas Kai Kai and Xin Xin live in Giant Panda Pavilion in Coloane in southern Macau. In Putonghua, “kai” means “open”, “xin” means “heart’, and “kai xin” means “happy”.
The pavilion has been closed to the public since June 14 to prepare for the delivery. The facility was scheduled to reopen on July 12.
In Hong Kong, female giant panda Ying Ying tried to conceive in April after her first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage last year. Giant Panda Adventure, Ying Ying’s home in Ocean Park, was temporarily closed in April to make the premise quieter for her to conceive.
Ying Ying and Le Le – the male giant panda who moved to Ocean Park with her in 2007 – were unsuccessful in their subsequent attempts at mating.
Kai Kai and Xin Xin were gifts from the central government in December 2014, when the former Portuguese enclave celebrated its 15th year since reuniting with the mainland.
Beijing gave Macau a pair of pandas in 2009, also named Kai Kai and Xin Xin, but the latter died in June 2014 and the former was sent back to Sichuan. Macau authorities decided to use the same names after the new pair arrived that year.