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06/24/2013

Twin baby pandas, first this year, born in China

Pandas
This photo from 2011 shows panda babies napping. Twin cubs were born in China on Saturday (not pictured). (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

What is that vibe emanating from Meadowvale and Finch? Beaming congratulations? Withering jealousy? Something in between?

Minions of Da Mao and Er Shun, the Toronto Zoo's two loaner pandas who are hoped to mate for the sake of both conservation and Sino-Canadian relations, are probably feeling some kind of emotion or another upon learning the news that twin baby pandas were born in captivity in southwest China over the weekend.

Xinhua news agency is reporting that the baby pandas were born at Wolong Nature Reserve in Sichuan province to a mom named Haizi. They were born 10 minutes apart on Saturday afternoon local time.

They are the first twin panda pair born this year, Xinhua reports.

In totally adorable news, the gender and weight of the first baby are unknown because momma Haizi hasn't yet released the cub from her arms. But conservation staff report that the cub is probably healthy, based on its size and the "volume of the sounds it has been making."

The second cub is a female that weighs 79.2 grams -- about as heavy as half a grapefruit. Newborn pandas are tiny and pink and weird looking, as the picture below illustrates. Only later do they grow into the black and white rapscallions we know and love from YouTube.

No word yet on photos or hit-bait videos.

While we wait, read more about the bamboo railroad that supplies the Toronto Zoo's two pandas here.

Kate Allen is the Toronto Star's science and technology reporter. Find her on twitter at @katecallen.

 

Panda1
Newborn pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, Sichuan province, in July 2008. Twin baby pandas, the first pair born this year, arrived Saturday, Xinhua News Agency reported. (REUTERS/China Daily)

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