The Berlin Zoo has revealed its star panda cub twins to the press ahead of their official introduction to the public. The zoo will take extra measures to handle the expected crowds.
The twin panda babies that have been the pride of Berlin since their birth last summer met the press at the Berlin Zoo on Wednesday as they prepare for their official debut to the public on Thursday.
Five-month-old twin males Meng Xiang und Meng Yuan were born in August to mother Meng Meng, an adult panda on loan to Berlin since 2017 from a zoo in China.
In their outdoor enclosure, the twins climbed and tumbled for the cameras as their mother looked on attentively.
Until now, the panda family have spent much of their time in an indoor enclosure.
"They are healthy, curious and follow their mother. They are more than ready for their first outing," said zoo director Andreas Knieriem.
Large crowds anticipated
Members of the public will be able to visit the fuzzy pair starting on Thursday. In anticipation of a busy day, the zoo plans to open extra ticket booths and provide security near the enclosure to prevent overcrowding.
The twins, nicknamed "Pit" and "Paule" by local caretakers, are the first pandas ever born in Germany.
Zookeepers made special arrangements to the panda enclosure for the cubs' big day. For safety purposes, climbing stations meant for adults pandas were lowered and the water basin was drained and refilled with soft woodchips.
kp/stb (AP, dpa)