Unable to determine the gender of two newborn panda cubs, zoologists in Berlin have called on Chinese experts for help. Nearly a month old, the cubs spend their time eating, sleeping and cuddling with their mom.
Berlin Zoo researchers are not able to determine the sex of the two baby pandas that were born this month, but scientists from the Chinese city of Chengdu will provide assistance, zoo spokeswoman Anna Ohl said on Friday.
The Berlin Zoo is hoping to announce the gender of the twin pandas within two weeks.
Six-year-old giant panda Meng Meng, who arrived in Germany in 2017 on loan from China, gave birth to the cubs on August 31.
It is the first time that panda bears have been born at the Berlin Zoo, marking a significant and meaningful moment for the institution, as well as the city.
Aside from helping determine the sex of the baby pandas, the two scientists from Chengdu will also stay in touch with the Berlin Zoo to help rear the animals for an additional six months, Ohl told the German dpa news agency.
Eating, sleeping and cuddling
Zoo staff have posted regularly about the cubs and on Friday, they shared a video on their twitter page of the babies spending time with their mother.
The baby pandas still have their eyes closed, but their characteristic black and white spots can already be seen developing. The cubs will remain blind for another couple of weeks.
A week after the birth, staff described the cubs' schedule as "eat, sleep, cuddle, repeat." Zoo attendants have assisted Meng Meng with the routine, as pandas are usually accustomed to dealing with only one cub.
"Although I have witnessed the birth and rearing of many animals during my time as a veterinarian, the relationship between mother bears and their cubs never fails to fascinate me," Berlin Zoo and Tierpark director Andreas Knieriem said.
"Big, powerful bears turn into loving, sensitive mothers when their offspring arrive — and our Meng Meng is no exception,” he added.
The cub's father, 9-year-old giant panda Jiao Qing, is not involved in the rearing of the cubs, which is normal for their species, the zoo said.