Twin Giant Panda cubs born on October 13 at the Toronto Zoo have tripled their weights but are still in a critical period of their infancy.
Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo
You first met the cubs on ZooBorns a few weeks after their birth. Their mother, Er Shun, has been providing excellent care, but zoo keepers help her by ‘twin-swapping’ – one baby stays with Er Shun while the other is moved to an incubator every few hours. This allows each infant to be nursed and cared for by Er Shun equally.
The cubs weighed 187 and 115 grams at birth. At 21 days old, the cubs’ weights had increased to 672 and 422 grams. In addition, they had each grown six centimeters in length.
If you look closely at the photographs, you can see the cubs’ black-and-white markings beginning to appear as their fur comes in On their tiny paws, you can see grooves developing on their pseudo thumb pads – these grooves will enable them to hold bamboo when they get much older.
Giant Pandas live in only a few mountain ranges in central China, usually at elevations between 5,000 – 10,000 feet. In these cool, misty forests, Giant Pandas forage for bamboo, which comprises 99% of their diet, about 10 to 16 hours a day.
Only about 1,600 Giant Pandas remain in the wild. About 300 live in zoos and breeding centers around the world, mostly in China. Giant Pandas are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.