Twin pandas debut at Tokyo zoo

TOKYO — Twin panda cubs were available to meet the public for the first time at a zoo in Tokyo, Japan, six months after they were born.

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The twins, a male cub named Xiao Xiao and a female cub named Lei Lei, will only be on display for brief times over three days because of a spike of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo, The Associated Press reported.

Xiao Xiao and Lei Lei were born at the Ueno Zoo in June, marking the first time panda twins had been born there, BBC reported at the time.

Pictures from the zoo show the cuddly pandas playing in trees, and lots of visitors buying panda-themed merchandise at the zoo’s gift shop.

The twins now weigh about as much as a toddler and enjoy climbing trees and playing together, the zoo told the Associated Press. To prepare for being on display, the twins and their mother were placed in a living quarter where they listened to a radio to get used to noise and voices, the AP reported.

When Xiao Xiao and Lei Lei were born, one was cared for in an incubator, because giant pandas rarely take care of two cubs at one time, BBC reported.

Part of the precautions the zoo is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include allowing only six people at a time to enter the panda quarters, and stay for just one minute, the AP reported. The viewing period is limited to two hours.