‘I couldn’t help but whoop’: Joy at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo as giant panda gives birth to twins

·2 min read
Ueno staff member Naoya Ohashi points to a screen showing panda Shin Shin giving birth on 23 June, 2021 (AFP via Getty Images)
Ueno staff member Naoya Ohashi points to a screen showing panda Shin Shin giving birth on 23 June, 2021 (AFP via Getty Images)

A giant panda at Tokyo's Ueno zoo has given birth to twins, just weeks after the news of panda Shin Shin’s pregnancy sent share prices of nearby restaurant chains surging.

The zoo said the pandas were born an hour and a half apart on Wednesday, and their gender has not yet been determined. They have also not been named yet.

In a statement, the zoo said: “All the staff are working together to observe and protect the giant panda mother and children.”

One of the cubs weighs 124 grams, and the weight of the other is not yet known.

Zoo director Yutaka Fukuda said that the twin birth was a first for Ueno. “When I heard the news that the second baby was born, I couldn’t help but whoop,” he was quoted as saying.

Shin Shin was born on 3 July, 2005, at the Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda in China, according to Reuters. She arrived at Ueno Zoo in 2011 along with her male partner Ri Ri. They had a cub named Xiang Xiang in 2017.

The zoo said that Shin Shin and Ri Ri mated on 6 March, and she started showing signs of a possible pregnancy on 4 June. Shin Shin was removed from public view and her condition was observed.

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato offered his congratulations to the zoo. “The pandas are now a family of five. This is such happy news,” he said, according to Reuters.

Shares of two Japanese restaurant operators soared after the zoo announced the twin birth. Chinese restaurant Totenko Co.’s stock climbed 10 per cent and restaurant chain Seiyoken KK’s shares jumped 7.4 per cent as the zoo announced that Shin Shin gave birth to two cubs, Bloomberg reported.

Their stocks had also surged earlier this month when the zoo had announce that Shin Shin may be pregnant.

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