This video montage shows the moment a panda mum gives birth to one of her two pink cubs before they become cute fluffy pandas weeks later.
The two cubs were born at the Madrid Zoo Aquarium in the Spanish capital on September 6.
Officials at the zoo said that the cubs have just turned two months old and have now successfully passed the most delicate period of their development.
They will now alternate between spending time in the crib installed for them in the zoo and spending time in the enclosure with their mother, who is called Hua Zui Ba, as they no longer require incubation.
A zoo spokesman said: ‘In these two months of progressive growth, vital to develop the immune system and thermoregulate by themselves, the little pandas no longer need an incubator and are completely covered in black and white fur characteristic of their species.
‘The transformation in these 60 days of life has been astonishing. From their pink, sightless, delicate appearance to the 171.4 and 137.4 grammes which they weighed when born, they have become beautiful giant pandas that already weigh 3.1 and 2.8 kilogrammes, open their eyes, and show off their most characteristic parts such as the palms of their hands with their opposable thumb that they use to grab bamboo canes.’
The zoo’s statement added that the panda cubs had quickly outgrown their incubator. It continued: ‘At two months old, the incubator is already too small for them. Therefore, after the process of adapting to the outside temperature in the last two weeks, during which time they have been out in the sun for a couple of hours in a protected space to continue strengthening, they will begin to sleep in the enclosure and will alternate between breastfeeding, essential for growth, with the first bottles of milk specific for pandas.’
The Madrid zoo is also asking for netizens to vote on the panda cubs’ names. Visitors have to choose from the six names You You, Jiu Jiu, Xing Mu, Bing Tang, Hua He, and Yue Yuan, and have until 5th December to register their vote.
The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) conservation programme at the Madrid Zoo Aquarium is of enormous importance for the survival of this species.
Thanks to the efforts of breeding centres and zoological institutions around the world, its threat category has been reduced from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Vulnerable’, according to the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).