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Giant panda welcomes twin girls at South Korean theme park

Ai Bao gave birth to her cubs last Friday at the Everland theme park near Seoul

A giant panda has given birth to squirming, squealing healthy twin girls at a South Korean theme park.

Ai Bao gave birth to her cubs last Friday at the Everland theme park near Seoul, the park’s operator said Tuesday.

It released video of the birth and the mother caring for her newborns, as well as veterinarians examining the tiny cubs.

They are the first panda twins born in South Korea, Samsung C&T Resort Group said.

Both Ai Bao and her newborns are in good health, the resort group said in the statement.

Decades of conservation efforts in the wild and study in captivity saved the panda species native to China from extinction, increasing its population from fewer than 1,000 at one time to more than 1,800 in the wild and captivity. The life expectancy of a giant panda in the wild is about 15 years, but in captivity they have lived to be as old as 38.

The South Korean resort group said it will observe the cubs’ health and growth to determine when to unveil them to the public. Meanwhile, the group said it will use social media to show off the cubs.

Ai Bao and a male panda, Le Bao, came to the park in 2016 from China on a 15-year lease. In 2020, Ai Bao gave birth to a female cub named Fu Bao.

Ai Bao, Le Bao and Fu Bao had been the only pandas in South Korea. Everland’s Panda World, which houses the three pandas, has received 14 million visitors, according to the resort group.

The Associated Press