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Welcome to the world: Toronto Zoo giant panda gives birth to two cubs

Last Updated Oct 13, 2015 at 7:26 pm EDT

The Toronto Zoo has announced a Canadian first – the birth of two giant panda cubs.

Er Shun, the Zoo’s female giant panda, gave birth to her first cub at 3:31 a.m. on Tuesday. The newborn weighed 187.7 grams. The second cub was born at 3:44 a.m., weighing 115 grams.

Watch a video below of one of the panda cubs being born, or click here for a mobile-friendly version.

It may take several months before Zoo officials can determine the cubs’ sex.

“The tiny cubs are very vulnerable at this size, so the next several hours and days will be critical to their survival,” Zoo officials said in a release.

The cubs will remain in the giant panda house’s maternity area for several months.

Two giant panda cubs in an incubator at the Toronto Zoo. HANDOUT
Two giant panda cubs in an incubator at the Toronto Zoo. HANDOUT


“Er Shun is demonstrating excellent maternal instincts and began cleaning and cradling the first cub soon after its birth,” the Zoo said.

Cubs are born blind and weigh only 0.08 to 0.2 kilograms, and about the size of a stick of butter. They are pink in colour with short sparse white hair, and are one-900th the size of their mother.

The Zoo has not yet determined the father of the babies.

Er Shun had been artificially inseminated, and her pregnancy was announced in late September.

It was the second time the zoo had tried artificial insemination. A 2014 attempt was unsuccessful.

The twins, if they survive, will live at the zoo for about two years and will likely return to China once they are weaned from Er Shun.

With files from Erin Criger