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Ya Lun and Xi Lun_Zoo Atlanta 3

Six-month-old Giant Panda twins Ya Lun and Xi Lun are old enough to spend the entire day playing in their dayroom at Zoo Atlanta.

Born September 3 to experienced mother Lun Lun, the sisters spend their time playing, exploring, and sometimes wrestling for access to coveted napping spots.

The cubs had previously been spending parts of the day in their sleeping quarters, but reached this new milestone right on schedule.

Ya Lun and Xi Lun_Zoo Atlanta
Ya Lun and Xi Lun_Zoo Atlanta 2Photo Credit:  Zoo Atlanta

You met the twins on ZooBorns when they were named and when they learned to walk. Next up for the only Giant Panda twins in the United States:  playing outdoors.  Zoo staff expect this to occur in the next few weeks. 

At birth, the twins weighed the same as a quarter-pound hamburger patty.  Ya Lun now weighs 22 pounds and her sister Xi Lun weighs 21 pounds.  As adults they will weigh more than 200 pounds.

Fewer than 1,900 Giant Pandas are estimated to remain in the wild in China’s Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. Of these, more than 1,200 live inside nature reserves, eight of which are supported by Zoo Atlanta. In September 2016, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature downgraded the Giant Panda’s status from Endangered to Vulnerable. The species remains heavily reliant on conservation programs, and Giant Pandas face ongoing threats from habitat fragmentation and habitat loss as a result of deforestation and other human activities.