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Panda twins born in Atlanta zoo

Twin panda cubs were born this week at Zoo Atlanta to giant panda Lun Lun, the first twin pandas born in the United States since 1987. (Adam K. Thompson/Associated Press)

The mother of the first giant panda twins born in the United States in more than 25 years is getting extra parenting help.

Lun Lun, who gave birth Monday at Zoo Atlanta in Georgia, is caring for the cubs, but zookeepers are rotating the two between their mother and an incubator to ensure that the twins are properly fed and receiving equal doses of maternal nurturing.

“They’re doing well. The trick with panda twins is that the female typically only cares for one and abandons the other,” said Dwight Lawson of Zoo Atlanta. “That’s normal; they’re just not able to raise twins on their own.”

An ultrasound confirmed Lun Lun’s pregnancy in June, but officials say they were unaware she was having twins until the second cub emerged minutes after the first.

The father is another giant panda at the zoo, Yang Yang.

The cubs are the first giant panda twins born in the United States since 1987. Each came into the world hairless and taking on a pinkish color. Lawson said one weighed about 3.5 ounces and the other just a little more than five ounces.

Lawson said both cubs appear healthy, but zookeepers are taking precautions because a large number of panda cubs die when they are infants.

The cubs will be named when they are 100 days old, in keeping with Chinese tradition, Lawson said. Zoo officials said they’ll probably learn the cubs’ sex this week.

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