National Zoo Welcomes 2 Panda Cubs

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Panda fans, rejoice.

Mei Xiang, the panda housed in Washington, D.C.’s National Zoo, gave birth—as expected—to two cubs on Saturday, about four hours apart. The first baby panda was born around 5:34 pm.

The first birth elicited squeals from visitors and zoo staff alike, with Zoo spokesperson Pamela Baker-Masson commenting that keepers were “thrilled, absolutely thrilled.”

“Everybody’s extremely happy,” she said. “We were all tuned in to the panda cam, and we saw her water break. And then just about an hour later … she gave birth to a cub.”

The cub’s sibling was born hours later, at 10:07 pm.

The zoo said both cubs are healthy and released a video of the older cub’s first exam.

It’s a happy weekend for the American panda family. Bao Bao, born in 2013, turns two on Sunday. Mei Xiang and her male partner, Tian Tian, are also the parents of Tai Shan, who was born in 2005.

Following zoo protocol, one cub has been placed in an incubator, though officials have not said which, according to the Washington Post. The other was placed with its mother. The cubs will rotate between incubator and mother over the next few weeks, with each alternating between spending time with their mother and being fed by bottle in the warmth of the incubator.

The cubs will likely not be introduced to the public for months.

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