Lun Lun The Giant Panda Is Expecting Twins!
Lun Lun the giant panda has been confirmed to be expecting twins. The Zoo Atlanta Veterinary Team obtained an ultrasound image confirming the presence of a second fetus on August 22, 2016.
The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams confirmed Lun Lun’s pregnancy via ultrasound on August 16, with an image of a fetus measuring 0.78 centimeters. As of August 22, that fetus measured 2.68 centimeters, and the second fetus measured 2.19 centimeters.
Round-the-clock birthwatch began on August 22, but there is still no certainty of impending births, as fetal reabsorption is not uncommon in giant pandas. Ultrasound participation is voluntary for Lun Lun, so there is no guarantee that the team will be able to obtain additional ultrasounds prior to a birth.
Lun Lun, who turns 19 on Thursday, August 25, is the mother of the only pair of giant panda twins in the U.S., 3-year-olds Mei Lun and Mei Huan. While it is estimated that giant pandas give birth to twins approximately 50 percent of the time, wild giant panda mothers will typically care for only one cub. Advances in animal care and veterinary care in zoos have resulted in successful rearing of twins both in the zoological population in China and in zoos outside China.
Join the Zoo Atlanta family in preparing for a birth by tuning in to PandaCam hosted by Animal Planet L!VE on www.zooatlanta.org. Stay tuned for updates.
The rectangular black spot at the top right is the urinary bladder; the black spot beneath is the first gestational sac, and the black spot at the top left is the second gestational sac.
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About the giant panda program at Zoo Atlanta
The giant panda program at Zoo Atlanta dates to the mid-1990s, prior to the debut of giant panda pair Lun Lun and Yang Yang, who arrived in 1999 on loan from China. Zoo Atlanta initiated its giant panda loan with its primary Chinese partners, the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG), the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and the Chengdu Zoo. Zoo Atlanta scientists developed a program focused on using behavioral and veterinary research to understand, support, and lengthen maternal care; improve reproductive success and well-being; understand giant pandas’ cognitive and perceptual abilities; and improve health, including preventative medicine. Zoo Atlanta’s relationship with the Chengdu Research Base and Chengdu Zoo also led to the creation of conservation education departments at these institutions – the first of their kind in Chinese zoos. In 2012, Zoo Atlanta and partners Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park, Memphis Zoo and San Diego Zoo Global earned the prestigious International Conservation Award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for their long-term commitment to the species. To date, five giant panda cubs have been born at Zoo Atlanta: Mei Lan (2006); Xi Lan (2008); Po (2010); and Mei Lun and Mei Huan (2013). Mei Lan, Xi Lan and Po currently reside at the Chengdu Research Base.
About Zoo Atlanta
Viewed as one of the finest zoological institutions in the U.S. and a proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Zoo Atlanta has a mission to inspire value and preservation of wildlife through a unique mix of education and outdoor family experiences. From well-known native wildlife to critically endangered species on the brink of extinction, the Zoo offers memorable close encounters with more than 1,000 animals from around the world. The Zoo’s newest destination, Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience, featuring more than 70 species in a 111,000 square-foot complex, opened in 2015 and is the world’s first LEED Gold-certified reptile and amphibian exhibit. Zoo highlights include Mei Lun and Mei Huan, the only giant panda twins in the U.S.; North America’s largest zoological collection of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Up-close-andpersonal animal experiences include behind-the-scenes Wild Encounters with African elephants, Aldabra giant tortoises, giant pandas, lemurs, Sumatran tigers and warthogs. Zoo Atlanta is open daily with the exceptions of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Keeper talks, interactive wildlife shows, education programs and special events run year-round. For more information, visit zooatlanta.org.