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Panda twins born in South Korea for the 1st time

Decades of conservation efforts in the wild and study in captivity saved the giant panda species from extinction

This photo provided by Samsung C&T Corp. shows giant panda Ai Bao and her twin cubs at an amusement park in Yongin, South Korea, Friday, July 7, 2023.
This photo provided by Samsung C&T Corp. shows giant panda Ai Bao and her twin cubs at an amusement park in Yongin, South Korea, Friday, July 7, 2023.AP

A giant panda has given birth to twin cubs at a theme park in South Korea. Ai Bao gave birth to the cubs, both female, last Friday at the Everland theme park near Seoul, the park’s operator, Samsung C&T Resort Group, said in a statement Tuesday.

It’s the first time that panda twins have been born in South Korea, the resort group said. Both Ai Bao and her newborns are in good health, it said.

Decades of conservation efforts in the wild and study in captivity saved the giant panda species 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 conditions 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 her male mate, Le Bao, also a giant panda, came to the park in 2016 from China on a 15-year lease program. 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.

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