Watch: Two baby pandas born at French zoo
The zoo said its female panda - Huan Huan - had given birth to two hand-sized pink cubs around 1am on Monday, adding that the newly born animals were in good health.
"The two babies are pink. They are perfectly healthy. They look big enough. They are magnificent," said Rodolphe Delord, president of Zoo-Parc de Beauval in Saint-Aignan, central France.
The babies are Huan Huan, and her partner Yuan Zi’s, third cubs after they produced the first panda ever born in France, Yuan Meng, in 2017.
Huan Huan and Yuan Zi came to France on loan from China in 2012, and their arrival was hailed at the time as a sign of warming diplomatic ties between Paris and Beijing.
The birth of the cubs are particularly welcomed as panda reproduction, in captivity or in the wild, is difficult.
Experts say few pandas get in the mood for mating or even know what to do once they enter heat. The window for conception is also small as female pandas are in heat only once a year for about 24-48 hours.
Zoo officials were excited when Huan Huan and Yuan Zi managed to make "contact" eight times in a weekend in March.
Veterinarians also carried out artificial insemination.
Huan Huan’s newborns will have to wait 100 days before being named.
Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, is set to choose what they will be called, according to the zoo.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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