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Panda Huan Huan holds her newborn female cub in Saint-Aignan, central France, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. A giant panda on loan to France from China gave birth to two female twin cubs early Monday, a French zoo announced. The Beauval Zoo, south of Paris, says the twins were born shortly after 1 a.m. They weigh 149 and 129 grams (5.3 and 4.6 ounces).Eric Baccega/The Associated Press

A giant panda on loan to France from China gave birth to two female twin cubs early Monday, a French zoo announced.

The Beauval Zoo, south of Paris, said the twins were born shortly after 1 a.m. They weigh 149 and 129 grams (5.3 and 4.6 ounces).

Their mother, Huan Huan, and father, Yuan Zi, are at Beauval on a 10-year loan from China aimed at highlighting good ties with France. The twins are their second and third cubs after the first panda ever born in France, Yuan Meng, in 2017.

“They are are very lively, pink and plump,” the zoo said in a statement. “Huan Huan is taking care of them very well. She took them in her mouth to lick them and clean them. We can hear little cries.”

The cubs will not be named before 100 days. They will spend a few years in France before being sent to China, the zoo said.

Other nations in Europe also have giant pandas, including Austria, Britain, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Finland.

There are about 1,800 pandas living in the wild in China and about 500 in captivity worldwide.

China for decades gifted friendly nations with its unofficial national mascot in what was known as “panda diplomacy.” More recently the country has loaned pandas to zoos on commercial terms.

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