A giant panda named Huan Huan gave birth to female twin cubs on Monday morning.
Huan Huan is on loan to France from China, staying at the Beauval Zoo in the south of Paris.
Breeding efforts began in March, and the zoo's associate director called the birth "exceptional."
A giant panda on loan to France from China gave birth to female twin cubs early on Monday morning. Each cub weighed less than a third of a pound.
Beauval Zoo, south of Paris, said in a statement on its website that Huan Huan's babies were "very bright, pink, and plump."
The statement went on to say that Huan Huan took good care of the cubs, putting them in her mouth to lick and clean them.
Caring for the cubs immediately after their birth, the mother is "more experienced than 4 years ago, she knows how to go about it, she protects him. Moreover, we see that she does not want to let go, " said Rodolphe Delord, the zoo's director, according to the statement.
Delphine Delord, the zoo's associate director, told The Washington Post that the birth was "exceptional," as the cubs are a result of breeding efforts that began in March.
Giant pandas give birth to twins about half the time, Rebecca Snyder, Zoo Atlanta's curator of mammals, told National Geographic in 2013 when Lun Lun, a giant panda, gave birth to twins there.
Although twin births are common among giant pandas, both twins surviving is not, Snyder said, because the newborns are particularly helpless since they don't open their eyes for at least six weeks, and they don't move around for the first three months.
The mothers "have to hold the cubs and position them for nursing in the first couple of weeks. Sometimes they're just not capable of getting them positioned and one of them fails," Snyder said.
To combat this, zoos typically rotate the two cubs back and forth between their mother and an incubator, the article said.
There are only 1,864 giant pandas living in the wild in China, the World Wildlife Fund said, and it's difficult for the animals to reproduce naturally because females only ovulate once a year.
China has spent years loaning giant pandas to other zoos in hopes of increasing breeding efforts.
Huan Huan and her partner, Yuan Zi, were first loaned to France from China in 2012, The Post reported.
Beauval Zoo didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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