The long-awaited happy event at ZooParc de Beauval has finally arrived!
After long hours of waiting, female Panda Huan Huan, gave birth to twins on Monday, August 2.
The first was born at 1:03am, the second at 1:10am. They are very bright, pink and plump.
The first weighs 149 g. The second weighs 129 g. Everything happened very quickly: the birth took place about thirty minutes Huan Huan’s water broke. Huan Huan is taking great care of her cubs. She took them in her mouth to lick them and clean them. Little cries could be heard! After 8 hours of labor for Huan Huan, the ZooParc team erupted with joy at the sight of these little bears.
This double birth is the happy outcome of a gestation that began last March, following the contact between Yuan Zi and Huan Huan followed by artificial insemination carried out by animal reproduction specialists from Leibniz-IZW Thomas Hildebrandt and Frank Goeritz and by Jella Wauters, Belgian veterinarian from Ghent University and Leibniz-IZW.
At 5 p.m., installed in her farrowing lodge, Huan Huan began going into labor. Then begins the setting up of teams to ensure the best calving conditions for the female. In a corridor, in front of the lodge, the two Chinese carers constantly watch over her and scrutinize her every gesture and attitude. They speak Chinese to her, and gently encourage her. Mao Min took care of Huan Huan and Yuan Zi when they were 6 months old. Both carefully note all observations on a statement. At the same time, they check all the equipment and incubators that will accommodate the little ones.
The veterinarians, Baptiste M and Antoine L, are also at the bedside of Huan Huan to analyze the progress of the labor. They interpret signs and changes in posture. Some healers from the panda sector and an ethologist are also present to note in real time all the attitudes: back against the wall, rolling in a ball, putting on the back ... In the screening room, concentration and tension are palpable as the birth approaches. All eyes are on the monitors. Calm is felt. Only whispers break the silence.
“Everyone is focused and knows exactly what to do. You don't always need to talk to understand each other between caretakers and veterinarians,” declares Delphine Delord, associate director of ZooParc de Beauval, at peace knowing birth can mean waiting long hours.
But suddenly, Huan Huan's behavior changes. The first contractions appear. They intensify over the hours. The female remains in a seated position most of the time with her head between her paws. The hours pass then, suddenly, the the first baby is born takes place!
Huan Huan reacts very quickly and immediately takes care of her first baby. Her gestures are sure.
“More experienced than 4 years ago, she knows how to go about it, she protects him. Moreover, we see that she does not want to let go,” rejoices Rodolphe Delord, very moved by this double birth. Then after a few minutes, the second is also born very quickly, so much so that it is difficult to see it on the screens.
How many does Huan Huan have in her mouth?!
Finally, the doubt is quickly removed: Huan Huan has 2 babies!
A round of applause then arose.
“We have just experienced a moment of rare intensity. These births are still exceptional, but they also have their share of surprises! We rejoice in the liveliness of babies, felt from their first moments. These births are also the fruit of the efforts of all our teams, who do their utmost to provide the animals with maximum welfare,” explains Delphine Delord, associate director of the Zooparc de Beauval.
Now the night is well under way. A few cries of nocturnal animals can be heard in the distance. It is now time to let Huan Huan rest and let the little ones experience their first moments… under the watchful eye of the teams.