TORONTO (FOX 13) - The Toronto Zoo welcomed Canada's first giant panda cubs in October and the pair is capturing hearts across the country, as the zoo documents everything from their first steps to moments with their mom on Facebook.
Panda mom Er Shun is now spending time with both cubs, one male and one female. Toronto Zoo officials said her first reaction was to try picking up both cubs at once, but couldn't because they weigh a combined 28 pounds!
The zoo said when two cubs are born in the wild, the mother will usually only care for one of them because she is unable to pick up both cubs at the same time.
So, before the family of three was all together, the zoo used a technique it called twin-swapping for four moths. The zoo said swapping been key to the survival of both cubs. It allows each cub to nurse and bond with their mother. It also gave keepers opportunity to provide supplemental formula when not with her.
The cubs aren't ready for public viewing just yet. They don't even have names.
The Toronto Zoo decided naming the cubs should include some outside input, so anyone is welcome to vote on names chosen by a committee of representatives from the Chinese Cultural Centre of Toronto and the Toronto Zoo. They also got feedback from the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG), Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, and the Chongqing Zoo.
Help Name Our Giant Panda Cubs!
Have you voted to name Canada's first giant panda cubs? After the first week of public voting, we're happy to share the pairs of names in the lead as of today: Jia Panpan & Jia Yueyue Duo Duo & Jia JiaJia Bao & Duo Bao If you haven't voted yet, go to http://ow.ly/XNGmT through February 28! Presented by @Cathay Pacific. Note one vote permitted per email address. #TOPandaCubs.Posted by The Toronto Zoo on Wednesday, February 17, 2016
The cubs, with mom Er Shun, will be in public viewing areas at the zoo starting March 12. The cubs will be with their mom for about 18-24 months. Er Shun, the cubs' father, Da Mao, and the cubs will stay in Toronto until 2018. Then they will all go to Calgary Zoo before eventually returning to China.
Voting for the cubs' names is open until February 28. There are seven pairs of names to choose from. To vote, visit http://ow.ly/XNGmT