It’s a banner week for Lun Lun.
The giant panda is expecting twins, the second fetus announced only yesterday by officials at Zoo Atlanta, and the teen-mom turns 19 on Thursday.
The zoo’s veterinary team managed to get an ultrasound image confirming the presence of a second fetus on Aug. 22. The pregnancy was first detected on Aug. 16. Each fetus now measures over 2 centimetres.
“Round-the-clock birthwatch began on August 22, but there is still no certainty of impending births, as fetal reabsorption is not uncommon in giant pandas,” the facility said in a statement. “Ultrasound participation is voluntary for Lun Lun, so there is no guarantee that the team will be able to obtain additional ultrasounds prior to a birth.”
A panda cam is now focussed on following the mother-to-be.
Lun Lun is the mother of the only pair of surviving giant panda twins in the United States, 3-year-olds Mei Lun and Mei Huan.
Experts says pandas give birth to twins about 50 per cent of the time, but in the wild, mothers will typically care for only one cub. However, human advances in animal care have resulted in successful raising of twins in China and other facilities around the world.
Photos Zoo Atlanta/Facebook