- Title: Vienna’s twin pandas cubs named in zoo ceremony
- Date: 23rd November 2016
- Summary: ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF STUDENTS FROM CHINESE SCHOOL IN VIENNA PERFORMING TRADITIONAL DRAGON DANCE FOR GOOD LUCK
- Embargoed: 8th December 2016 15:42
- Keywords: Schoenbroon Zoo panda Vienna names
- Location: VIENNA, AUSTRIA
- City: VIENNA, AUSTRIA
- Country: Austria
- Topics: Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA00259O23X5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Twin panda cubs born at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo this summer were officially named on Wednesday (November 23), at a ceremony attended by Austria's Vice Chancellor and the Chinese Ambassador to Austria.
Animal-lovers were able to pick the name for the male cub in an online poll, finally deciding on Fu Ban, or 'Happy Half'. Schoenbrunn Zoo chose the name for his sister - Fu Feng, or 'Lucky Phoenix'.
The zoo said it had chosen the name for the female cub in October, but then appealed to the public to help find a name for her brother. Some 12,000 people voted, with almost half picking Fu Ban.
The Chinese Ambassador to Austria, Li Xiaosi, and Austria's Vice Chancellor, Reinhold Mitterlehner, unveiled the names.
Fu Feng - Fu means lucky, Feng means phoenix - Lucky Phoenix. Fu Ban means Happy Half. The meaning of the names is very important in China."
'Happy Half' can also be translated as 'Happy Companion'.
After the billboards were unveiled, students from Vienna's Chinese school performed a traditional dragon dance for the cubs' good luck.
Giant panda Yang Yang gave birth to the cubs on August 7.
Zoo director Dagmar Schratter said although it is not uncommon for giant pandas to give birth to twins the mother usually only rears the stronger of the two.
"Usually one of the cubs is stronger than the other one and the mother rears only the stronger cub. The weaker cub is called "reserve". This is common in the wild, for example as is the case with bearded vultures. Sometimes it happens that both cubs are equally strong, we know this from wild life, but this never happened with animals in human care before, so this is really something special - our panda mother could not decide which cub to rear. It is also important that she is an experienced mother who is having cubs for the fourth time, and as you can see she is doing a great job," he said.
In keeping with a tradition that stems from the high death rate among baby pandas, the twins were named after they were 100 days old.
Giant pandas are one of the world's most endangered species. Their natural home lies in a few mountain ranges in central China. There are about 1,600 known to be living in the wild and some 300 in captivity, mostly in China.
Female pandas are able to conceive only for two or three days in the spring, which makes reproduction difficult. The gestation period is about five months.
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