France's First Lady to be named godmother of expected panda twins
By Hu Shaocong

2017-08-04 15:59 GMT+8

France's First Lady Brigitte Macron will be named godmother of the expected twin panda cubs, the first such baby animals in the European country, Beauval zoo officials said Thursday.

"China will choose the names (for the cubs). Brigitte Macron will give us the honor of being the godmother," Delphine Delord, the zoo's communication director wrote on her Tweeter account.

The giant female panda Huan Huan, which is on loan to France from China, will give birth to the twins under the watchful eye of two Chinese birthing specialists either Friday or Saturday.

Screen grab from French zoo website that celebrate the news of expected twin cubs

While an adult female panda can weigh up to 125 kilograms, a baby panda weighs barely 120 grams at birth.

A team of 15 people, including two Chinese carers, vets and an animal behavior specialist will be on hand to assist the delicate birth at the zoo near the city of Tours. The newborns will be placed in an incubator.

"In the wild, a panda mom doesn't raise two babies," Debord said. "They will be handed to Huan Huan one after the other for feeding."

French First Lady Brigitte Macron (L) and French President Emmanuel Macron (R) /AFP photo

The female panda and her male partner Yuan Zi, with translated names as "Joy" and "Podgy" respectively, arrived in central France's Beauval zoo in January 2012, and are due to return to China in 2022. Their offspring will stay in France until the age of two or three.

There are about 2,000 pandas in the world. They are classified as "vulnerable" species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

(Source: AFP)