Diary of the panda twins

7. Februar 2017

7th February: Panda twins are half a year old today!

Fu Feng and Fu Ban are half a year old today. They love to rollick around and are quite good at climbing. They can be observed frequently, even when they are sleeping. Fu Feng likes to sleep in plain view on the platform whereas her brother Fu Ban prefers to retreat to the cosy tree hollow. Mother Yang Yang still suckles them once or twice a day. they already nibble the tender bamboo leaves whereas the hard stalks are rather considered to be a plaything.

18th January: An eager climber!

Look, how brave our Panda twins already are. They are climbing eagerly up the trees. Their small, pointy claws give them a good grip. Fu Feng climbs higher than her brother most of the time. She loves to sleep in a crotch of one of the trees and Fu Ban has the cave all for himself.  

2nd January: Hollow Tree as a Sleeping Place

Since Thursday evening  the Panda twins were continuously exploring their enclosure. For sleeping they cuddled in the hay. Yesterday the cubs discovered that they are strong enough to climb into the hollow tree by themselves. Since then they like to go back into their cosy cave, where they were reared in the last couple weeks, to sleep. During this time they cannot be seen.

30th December: Finally!

At last,  the waiting finally has an end: The twins Fu Feng and Fu Ban climbed out of their hollow tree yesterday evening for the first time and spent the night exploring the new area that opened up to them. Now they are sleeping behind one of the trees, but that can change anytime. Meanwhile, their mother Yang Yang keeps an eye on them and their curiosity.

28th December: Who is this curious one?

Every now and then the twins stick their little noses outside their tree hollow. Here is the female Fu Feng taking a peek. However, her brother is also curious about what the world out there holds for them. So it will not be long till the little fellows will climb out.  

19th December: A look into the tree hollow

First we have to apologies for not writing about the Panda twins in the last couple of days. The death of Long Hui hit us hard. However he left us two wonderful cubs. Have a look, how cute they are cuddling in their little cave. The curious little fellows already poke their noses out of the tree hollow now and then to have a peek at the big world out there. We are anxious to see if they are brave enough to climb out this year or if they wait for the new year to come.

6th December: Waiting for the twins

In December everybody is already waiting for Christmas to come but this year we are also waiting for the panda twins to show themselves. As our photo shows they are still comfortably ensconced in their tree hollow. It is impossible to predict when they will climb out. Perhaps it will be mother Yang Yang who will fetch them. It would not be the first time that she finds a new nursery for them like when she moved them to the tree hollow from the breeding box.  

2nd December: time for cuddles

Yesterday we showed you a picture of how cutely the twins play with each other. Today’s photo is bound to raise your spirits once more, don’t you think? The little fur balls love to sleep snuggled up against each other. It definitely has its advantages to have a sibling. And good that we have a camera in the tree hollow so that we won’t miss any of these special moments.

30th November: Let’s play!

What is the most exciting thing about having brothers and sisters? That one has a playmate! The panda twins already play a lot with each other. They nibble one another and romp around in their tree hollow. One such sequence of the little ones playing can be seen in this video. It is really lovely to watch. We look forward to finding out if mummy Yang Yang will also be called upon to play or if the little pandas will concentrate on one another.

25th. New Week, New Weight

On Monday our Panda twins were weighted again. The cubs flourish rapidly. The female Fu Feng had on Monday already 6.02 kg (13.27 lb), the male Fu Ban weighed 5.28 kg (11.64 lb). This is a remarkable development, if one remembers that they were born with about 100 g (0.22 lb). The picture on the left is from the 7th of November, meanwhile they grew quite a bit. Fu Feng is on the left, Fu Ban on the right or better under his sister.  

23rd November: The Twins Are Named!

Today the Panda twins officially received their names during the Chinese-Austrian celebration: Fu Feng for the female, Fu Ban the male. “The names bring good fortune and it is a special sign that the twins were born in the 45th year of the diplomatic relationship between the People's Republic of China and Austria” says his Excellency, the Chinese ambassador Li Xiaosi. The Giant Pandas are a symbol for the friendship between China and Austria. And also a magnet for tourists, as vice-chancellor and minister of tourism Reinhold Mitterlehner emphasizes in his speech: “This year already about 800,000 tourists from China visited Austria, next year we will cross the one million line.”

22nd November: Bamboo Teething Ring

On today’s picture we show you our Panda female, which is nibbling on leftover bamboo sticks left in the hollow tree by their mother Yang Yang. The little one chews on the stick, maybe it has the same effect as a teething ring for babies when the teeth are coming through. One cannot speak yet of feeding on bamboo. The milk from the mother will still be the only source of food for a while.

18th November: Teething

Almost we forgot to tell you something. During a quick check within the weighting, the zoo keepers discovered the upper and lower canine teeth are already coming through. The Giant Panda has 40 teeth. Its dentition is one of an omnivore, even though they mainly feed on bamboo.  The molars are one of the strongest and broadest of the carnivores.

16th November: Important Guests in the Zoo

The Chinese Ambassador Li Xiaosi together with his wife Huang Yan visited the Tiergarten yesterday. The Zoo director Dagmar Schratter and the zoologist Eveline Dungl welcomed the important guests. The focus of interest were of course the Giant Pandas, the national animal of the People's Republic of China. So the Panda parents Yang Yang and Long Hui were visited and the videos of the twins on the video wall were watched with enthusiasm. The next visit to the Tiergarten will be soon: during the naming on the 23rd November the ambassador together with the vice-chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner will officially name the Panda twins.

15th November: Panda Twins are 100 Days Old!

Today the Panda twins are 100 days old. An important day in their short Panda life. Because according to the Chinese tradition Panda cubs should be named after their 100th day of life. In the Tiergarten the naming celebration for invited guests will be held on the 23rd of November in the presence of Austria's vice-chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner and the Chinese ambassador Li Xiaosi. Today’s picture  in the dairy was taken during yesterday’s weighing. The female has already 5.62 kg (12.4 lb), the male 4.9 kg (10.8 lb).

14th November: Special Feature of the Panda-Milk

In the science journal “Nature” was a very interesting article published in the beginning of November. It talks about the special feature of the Panda milk. Panda cubs are born with almost no immune system. Compared to other mammals for an extremely long period of time  - 40 days – colostrum or first milk is produced. Over an even longer period of time there are many changes of the protein composition, which is extremely important for the development of especially the eyes, the brain and the nervous system. This gives our Panda twins the best start into their life through their natural rearing.

11th November: When Can the Little Ones Be Seen?

Because we are asked very often, when it is possible to see the Panda twins for the visitors, we will explain how it works. The cubs are in the hollow trunk in the Panda house, where their mother Yang Yang brought them to. One cannot look into the trunk from the visitor area. Yang Yang climbs in now and again to lovingly care for the little ones. The cups are not yet able to crawl or climb and due to this cannot come out. When they are big enough and Yang Yang allows it, the cubs will climb out and show themselves to the visitors.

7th November: 3 Months Old

Today are the Panda twins three months old. It is unbelievable how fast they developed from little naked worms to black-white furballs. The cubs have made many development steps in those three months. Their ear canals and the eyes opened, instead of this white fluff they have thick fur. Only thing stayed the same from day one:  their very caring and attentive mother Yang Yang as one can see on today’s picture.

4th November: On the Scale

Last week the Panda twins were weighted for the first time, while the Panda mum spent some time in the outside exhibit. The female weighed 4.26 kg (9.4 lb), the male 3.97 kg (8.75 lb). Those are excellent weights. Compared to the other cubs, which were born here, they are right in the middle. Fu Long weighted at the same age a little bit less, our second cub Fu Hu and the third Fu Bao were a little bit heavier.

3rd November: Panda twins will be called Fu Feng and Fu Ban

The voters have decided. In the past two weeks around 12.000 fans of the Schönbrunn panda twins have cast their online vote on the internet site of the zoo. Almost half of the votes (48.3 percent) were in favour of the Chinese name Fu Ban which translates to “Happy Companion, Happy Half” and refers to the fact that there are twins. Second with 29.1 percent came Fu Lin, the abbreviation of the Chinese mystical creature Quilin. Fu Xiong (Happy Bear) got 22.6 percent of the votes. Fu Feng, the name of the female was chosen by the zoo. “Feng” stands for phoenix who together with the dragon forms the imperial couple in Chinese mythology.  Ever since our first young panda was given the name Fu Long we were keeping Fu Feng in mind for a female offspring.

28th October: Yang Yang enjoys the autumn

The daily life of the Panda mum Yang Yang is all about the twins since their birth. Nowadays she goes already one to two times a day into the outside exhibit. About half an hour she stays outside to relax on the autumn leaves and nibble on bamboo. Her cubs, she knows, are safely “stored”, because they are napping in the tree trunk.

25th Oktober: The Tree Trunk in Detail

Panda mother Yang Yang  carried the twins into the tree trunk last week. In the Panda exhibit are different possibilities, where Yang Yang could give birth to the cubs. Till now she always chose the breeding box. This possibility is the reason why a surveillance camera was installed into the tree trunk. The tree is very similar to one a Panda mum in the wild would encounter. It was made by the company Linzberger. They split a tree in two, hollowed it out and put it back together in the exhibit.

20th October: The Panda twins as a small piece of art

The Panda cubs bring many people joy and pleasure. All around the world people follow their development. Time and again e-mails reach us with best wishes to the small Panda family. A picture of the black-white furballs, where they form a heart while cuddling, was especially endearing for a lady from Munich to make her draw it. She is a big Panda fan and sent us this great drawing with “Congratulations to this adorable offspring”. A BIG thank you, we are delighted to receive such a gift.

19th October: Happy Reunion with Fu Bao

In China the “International Conference on Giant Panda Conservation” is held at the moment by the “China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda”. During this conference staff of different panda facilities, scientists, NGOs and university employees meet to discuss important issues around the conservation of the Giant Panda. Zoo director Dagmar Schatter and Panda curator Eveline Dungl were also able to visit our third Panda cub Fu Bao in the Panda station Du Jiangyan.

18th October: Fu Lin, Fu Ban or Fu Xiong?

Over 2,000 name suggestions reached us. Here you can choose between three of them in the final vote till the 2nd of November. The first possible name is “Fu Lin”. Lin is the nickname for the Chinese mythical creature Quilin, which looks similar to the Unicorn and is one of the four creatures with a positive omen. The second name relates to the fact that we have twins for the first time. “Fu Ban” means “Happy Half”. The third name, which is put up to the vote, is “ Fu Xiong” and means “Happy Bear”

17th October: New  “Nursery“

The Panda mum changed the “nursery”. Yesterday she carried the female, today the male, from the breeding box behind the scenes into the hollow trunk. The hollow trunk is standing in the inside area of the exhibit, though the visitors cannot look into it. So the Panda twins still cannot be seen. There is a surveillance camera installed in the hollow trunk, which enables the zoo keepers to watch Yang Yang and the twins. The last Panda cub Fu Bao was also raised in this tree for a certain time by Yang Yang.

14th October: Panda-TV as a break filler

From the 11th till the 14th of October the "Academy Animal Training Workshop" of the European Zoo Organisation (EAZA) took place in the Zoo Vienna. 15 participants from different European countries were attending. Animal trainer in the Zoo Vienna is Eveline Dungl, who is also in charge of the zoological department where the Giant Panda is housed. No wonder, that she showed her colleagues the Panda-Video Wall during one of the breaks of the workshop. 

13th October: One After Another

During the rearing of the twins Yang Yang developed special methods on how to pick up both cubs, how to clean one while the other suckles or how to put them both gently into the bamboo nest. Meanwhile the cubs seem to be too big to have them both on her breast. Now she switches most of the time between the two during the suckling.

12th October: Thank you for all the wonderful e-mails!

Till Sunday you still can send in your Panda name suggestions for the Panda boy. Around 1200 have already arrived. We are especially happy about the numerous congratulations and wishes in the emails. “All the best for the wonderful Pandas. I read every day in the Panda-diary and watch the videos from the breeding box”, “Congratulation to the twins and we wish them a beautiful life!” or “I’m looking forward to when they can be seen in the winter”.

7th October: Hundreds of suggestions reached us!

The mail box for the Panda name suggestions is over flown with e-mails. Every minute we receive an e-mail with an idea how the Panda boy should be called. The Panda fans research very intensely in the internet and browse in lexica to find a nice name with a fitting meaning. We are also very happy about how many express their congratulations to the Zoo Vienna and our Pandas in their E-mails.

6th October: Company in the Breeding Box

The Panda twins have an eight-legged roommate in their breeding box. The daddy-longlegs (or harvestman) presented itself very nicely in front of the camera during the night. Because the little animal lives in the upper part of the breeding box, so about two meters above the twins, the cubs probably have not yet met it.

4th October: How Should the Panda Boy Be Called?

The names of the pandas born at Schönbrunn are to date: Fu Long, Fu Hu, and Fu Bao. We already have a name for the Panda female. Together with the newspaper Kronen Zeitung we are now looking for suggestions for our Panda boy. Please submit these to the zoo until 16th October at panda@zoovienna.at  It should be a Chinese name that begins with “Fu”. The best name submitted will be one of three names that can be voted for in an online vote at www.zoovienna.at

29th September: Twins get more and more active!

The Panda twins are getting more active from day to day, lifting their heads, wiggling with legs and rolling around on Yang Yang’s stomach. The cubs reach the crawling stage at the age of four months, however the first attempts already started. They try to bring their little legs underneath their body and lift themselves up. Till they leave the breeding box it will still take about two months. Till then we will keep you up to date with the diary.

28th September: Zoo Keeper catches the First Picture!

By now the Panda mum leaves the breeding box a couple of times per day to feed on bamboo and drink as well as to stretch and take a break. The Zoo keepers used such a moment this morning to sneak in and take a picture. Though sadly the twins were sleeping. It will still take about two months till the little ones do it like their mother and leave the breeding box.

27th September: Open Eyes!

About two months ago the Panda twin were born blind and with only a little bit of hair to them. Meanwhile, the cubs are small black and white fur balls with their eyes open. At the age of 30 to 45 days, the eyes of the panda cubs start to open slowly. One to two weeks it takes for them to fully open. Though the percipience is still limited to a light-dark contrast.  

26th September: Happy Birthday Long Hui!

Today Panda dad Long Hui is 16 years old. Panda fathers take no part in raising the cubs – in the Zoo and in the wild. That is the reason, why he is separated from Yang Yang and the twins. While Panda mum is working hard, Long Hui - even on his birthday - lives a relaxing Panda life of sleeping, walking around a little bit, climb a tree or two and of course eat bamboo.

23rd September: Not only the twins are well fed

Yesterday, for the first time after giving birth to the twins, Yang Yang stepped on to the scale. The weight measuring is part of the normal routine for the Panda, only during the suckling phase there is a break. The weight is an important factor to measure the health of the Panda. The scale showed Yang Yang weighs 97,5 Kilograms (215 lb). This is an impressive weight and shows how well the mother is doing. She eats bamboo already for one and a half hours at a time and the bamboo bread gives her power too.

22nd September: „Fitness Training“ for the Panda Twins

Crawling is learned at the age of four months by the panda twins. Even though right now they make no headway, the muscles are enthusiastically trained. Whether crawling around on the stomach of Yang Yang or straining the abs and lifting head and legs when mum is close. A Panda starts with everything small.

21th September: Pink Nose

The classic colours of the Giant Panda are black and white. The twins already have the black-white fur like their parents. Though there is one exception: the nose is still pink and it will be like that quite a while. When the Panda cubs – probably end of the year – leave the breeding box for the first time and show themselves to the visitors, their nose will be black.

20th September: In the Year of the Panda

Yesterday the new novel from Clemens Berger was presented in Literature house. “In the Year of the Panda” plays in Vienna Zoo among other places, because Panda keeper Rita is one of the three main figures in the book of the Austrian author. The 670 pages tome was inspired by a visit to the zoo around the birth of the third Panda cub Fu Bao. In the novel there is also a Panda cub as well as a Panda diary. Our zoologist Eveline Dungl supported the author a little bit during his research.

19th September: Relaxation for the Panda Mum!

Many visitors ask us, how the daily life in the breeding box looks like. Yang Yang’s work is primarily to clean and suckle the cubs. It is not so important anymore to keep them warm, as the twins already have fur. The Panda mum can now more frequently and longer leave the breeding box – primarily to feed. Though she also enjoys to stretch herself out in front of the breeding box. Panda mums need a break sometimes too.

16th September: Waiting eagerly!

Today the Panda twins are exactly 40 days old. Every moment the eyes of the cubs could open. Sometimes one believes to already see the open eyes over the camera pictures, though it is not true. The little ones are still blind and everyone is waiting eagerly of the big step forward. The twins grow bigger every day and energetic and look concerning the proportions already like little bears.

15th September: Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

In China the Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon-Festival is celebrated. It is solemnized on the 15th day of the 8th month in the traditional Chinese calendar. In the process mooncake, which comes with different fillings e.g. sweet, salty, with meat or vegetarian, is gifted in a traditional way. Our Giant Pandas Yang Yang and Long Hui even today have only one thing on their menu: bamboo. And the twins only mother milk of course. We wish our Chinese colleges and friends of the Panda conservation program a wonderful festival.

13th September: There is a huge interest!

From the Czech Republic to USA to Italy: journalists from all over the world report about the Panda twins and their development. That Yang Yang is raising her two cubs on her own without human help, generates a lot of international media interest for the Vienna Zoo. The first days after the birth interviews were held daily. Especially in China, the home of the Giant Panda, many articles can be found.

12th September: So little, but already sharp claws!

On today’s picture one can see the claws of the Panda twins very well. The Panda paw has five fingers with sharp, long claws, which cannot be retract. Thanks to the claws Pandas are good climbers even though they look clumsy, due to them they have a good grip on the trees and climbing frame. The soles of the paws of the Panda are covered with fur. This is an adaption to their habitat and protects them from the cold temperature and slipping on snow and ice.

9th September: To be a Twin is Different!

This are the first Panda Twins in our zoo. And naturally one thinks about the differences and how it will be in future with more than one cub. When mother Yang Yang leaves the breeding box to feed, the cubs stay back alone for a short time. During this periode the cubs will not be alone as they have each other. They lay close together, have body contact and feel each other. All the other times the cub was alone in the bamboo nest. Generally the cubs love to cuddle with each other.

8th September: Special food for the Panda mum

The first 17 days after their birth of her twins Yang Yang did not feed. As in the wild, the Panda mum only cared for her cubs. Meanwhile she goes regularly to feed and leaves the little ones alone in the breeding box for short periods of time. In the anteroom of the breeding box bamboo and water is provided. However a special "bamboo bread" is also prepared. For the "bread" rice flour, corn flour and bamboo are steamed. It is usually on the menu for the Pandas, though Yang Yang receives a special recipe, so she gets fast sufficient nutrition. And those Yang Yang needs now. With the bamboo bread she should be able to get back her energy during her short trips outside the breeding box.

7th September: Small Differences

Even on the camera pictures one can distinguish the twins. The male has an equally broad shoulder band. The shoulder band of the female is thin in the middle. However, also their character shows small differences. So is the male impatient while drinking and the female quieter. About every four hours are the cubs nursed. If the male does not find the teat right away, he squeaks till Yang Yang helps him along.

6th September: Twins are boy and girl!

Tomorrow the panda twins will be one month old and now their gender could be determined.  "Looking at the pictures it is now clear to see that they are a boy and a girl”, Dagmar Schratter the zoo director explains. “After three males we are very pleased that one of the twins is a female.” Of course the most important fact is that that the twins are developing well and it still keeps looking very promising. The baby pandas have fat milk tummies and are getting more and more fur. They don’t have to be warmed by their mother 24 hours a day anymore; they can now sleep next to Yang Yang in the bamboo nest and can stay alone for short periods of time while mother leaves the breeding box to eat.

5th September: Visible Bigger

One can watch the Panda twins grow bigger every day. Unbelievable, when comparing the first pictures with the ones of today. On Wednesday the two little ones will be one month old. After birth they were about 10 cm (3.9 in) long and weigh about 100 g (0.22 lb). Now the twins probably are around 35 cm (13.8 in) big from nose to tail. Pandas in this age weigh according to literature between 960 to 1400 g (2.1 – 3.1 lb) with an average of 1220 g (2.7 lb). Both cubs are well developed and grown. And mum Yang Yang cares lovingly for them.

2nd September: A Giant Panda is surely Black-White!

Not yet long ago, were the Panda twins pink all over and naked. Meanwhile one can see only a little bit of the baby hair and pink skin, because the short, black hair at the ears, the shoulders, the hind legs and around the eyes grows thicker and thicker every day. Even the first distinguishing characteristic can be seen: the twins shoulder band width is different. Why the fur of the Giant Panda is black and white – not even the scientists know for sure yet. Some of the explanations are better warmth regulation, UV-protection of the eyes or better camouflage. The skin beneath the black-white fur is the same for adults and cubs: pink.  

1st September: Endangered Species

Today start the conservation days in the Zoo Vienna. Since the arrival of the Giant Panda in the year 2003, does the Zoo Vienna support the Panda conservation project and finances among other things reserves, which provide the Bamboo bear with a suitable habitat to live in. Because: Even though the Panda twins are sheltered by their mum, their wild relatives are in a sad situation. Giant Pandas were originally widespread over China and Burma. At the moment according to a count of the forest ministry (published 2015) there are only 1864 individuals in the mountain forests in the southwest of China. The Chinese government tries to establish new Panda reserves as well as corridors between them to save the Giant Pandas.  

31st August: A great Mum

Panda mum Yang Yang is a mighty bear with around 100 kilograms (220 lb) and nevertheless extremely gentle with her cubs. She, like our male Long Hui, was born in the Panda station in Wolong. Even though she grew up in human care, does she have the natural skills of a Panda mother in the wild. Which she proved with raising Fu Long, Fu Hu und Fu Bao – now with the twins even more. The Zoo is very grateful towards the Panda station Wolong to receive two such awesome bears.

30th August: Bamboo from Burgenland

The Panda twins grow bigger and bigger every day, though the climate for the food of the Pandas is not perfect here at the moment. Due to this the bamboo has to be imported from France and the Netherlands. A small part is growing in Burgenland.  At the moment our need for bamboo is not very high. Normally Pandas would eat up to 30 kilograms per day. In the summer it is generally less and Yang Yang is not yet interested in eating, because she has to concentrate on her cubs. And the little ones only eat milk in the first few months.

29th August: A clean Panda Mum

To care for her cubs, keeps Yang Yang occupied around the clock. She not only has to suckle and warm them, but also clean the breeding box. To do this Yang Yang licks away the excretion of the cubs. The Panda twins are not yet able to defecate and urinate without help. Their mother has to gently massage their stomach. The day at the moment is split into sleep, clean and suckle phases. The drinking interval is longer now. The cub are suckled every 3 hours, right after birth it was hourly.

26th August: Remarkable Proportions

Today we will have a closer look at the build of the Panda twins. And right away one thing catches the eye: their overlong tail. Their mother Yang Yang does not have it. Adult Pandas have short tails with a length of about 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 in) covered with white fur. Which is used as a seat cushion during eating. The cubs have a long tail after birth. Already in the next few weeks the proportions will shift. The bigger they get, the lesser the tail will grow.

25th August: Congratulations from all over the world

Daily we receive e-mails from zoo colleagues and Panda fans from all over the world: from China to Australia to the USA. We are happy for this many good wishes to the Panda twins and the recognition for our Yang Yang, which manages the rearing as for now without problems. Except for watching and tending to the needs of the mother, we have nothing to do.  Following congratulations we would like to share with you: „Wow!!!! two cubs!!! And both with the mother!!!! Amazing!”,  “That’s wonderful that the mother is caring for both cubs”, “It's amazing that Yang Yang holds both of twins.“ „What an amazing mother you have there!” und “Watching the video with Yang Yang holding her twins in her arms and taking such a gentle care for them made me cry. It´s amazing!!!!!”

24th August: A Video Screen for fans

Panda mum Yang Yang is raising her cubs behind the scenes in a breeding box. Tough so the Panda fans still can witness how the cubs are doing, a big video screen was but right next to the Panda house. Here the best current scenes of the little twins are shown. The zoo keepers monitor the growing up around the clock via camera. Our visitors are shown the best on the screen, because most of the time Yang Yang is hiding her cubs to keep them warm. Thank you to our Panda sponsors Kellys and Österreichische Lotterien.

23rd August: Miniature pandas

The panda twins in Schönbrunn Zoo are 16 days old as of today and continue to develop splendidly. Mother Yang Yang is extremely relaxed in her care of the two young ones and their needs. She suckles them, cleans them and keeps them warm. The babies get more and more active every day. The young pandas stretch, wave their little paws in the air and make first tentative efforts to crawl on their mother’s tummy. The pink tinge is also increasingly replaced by black and white fur and they are looking more like miniature pandas every day.

22nd August: Panda twins instead of the soother fairy

We were visited by little Darius. He gifted us with a treasure chest. Within was a great treasure for him, his four soothers. For which Darius was already too big and instead of giving them to the soother fairy, he wanted to leave them with for the Panda twins. In the Box there was also a letter, which said “Dear Panda, here are all my soothers for you. I wish you a lot of fun with them! Darius”. 

19th August: Lounging at the milk bar

A Panda female has four teats. Our previous cubs were seen only sucking at the upper two teats in the first weeks. The twins already drink from the lower ones. This is very exciting for us. During the drinking one can hear the suckling noises. The tongue of the Panda cubs is very big and strong and so they can wrap it around the teat. The drinking interval gets longer step by step. At the beginning they were nursed every hour, now every two to three hours. Their big milk tummies in any case cannot be missed.

18th August: A short Moment in the Bamboo Nest

This morning Yang Yang put both cubs for a short moment into the bamboo nest to turn around and this picture we want to share with you! Here one can see the little ones very well, because they are not hidden in their mothers fur. Shortly afterwards she picked them up again very gently. Thereby she „speaks“ with her cubs. The Pandas sense of hearing develops at first around the age of 5 weeks, though the twins probably can already feel the vibrations of the grumbling.

17th August: From pink to black-white

It is fascinating to watch Yang Yang care for her twins. She is totally relaxed. Her experience probably helps her. Most of the time, the cubs cuddle in her breast fur. Both of the little ones have to be warmed intensively. After their birth the twins were still pink and were only covered in a slight down. Every day the fur grows thicker and slowly shows the typical Panda pattern. If one looks closely, the black fur at the ears, around the eyes and the shoulders can be seen.

16th August 2016: Twins!


The noises were already suspicious, giving the impression of two cub squeaking. However only one cub was seen. Since Friday we know it for certain: there are twins. It is not rare for Giant Pandas to give birth to twins. Yang Yang is an experienced mother and takes very good care of both little ones. After the first couple days their development looks promising.

7th August 2016: Panda cub born

Concerning the Giant Panda, Vienna is definitely a fertile ground: on the 23rd of March Yang Yang and Long Hui mated here in the Zoo Vienna and on the 7th of August a cub has come into the world. Breeding Giant Panda the natural way, has been only possible in the Vienna Zoo so far and has not happened in any other zoo in Europa. The excitement over the little one is of course big. Already in the morning, the keepers were able to hear the squeaking from the breeding box. The recordings from the breeding box-camera showed us the cub being born at 5.05 AM.