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Berlin zoo reveals names and gender of panda twin cubs

Panda cub Meng Yuan looks to the cameras as his brother Meng Xiang is almost sleeping during a name-giving event for the young panda twins (AP/Michael Sohn)
Panda cub Meng Yuan looks to the cameras as his brother Meng Xiang is almost sleeping during a name-giving event for the young panda twins (AP/Michael Sohn)

Berlin Zoo’s giant panda twins have been named Meng Xiang and Meng Yuan, which translate into “desired dream” and “fulfilled dream”.

According to Chinese tradition, the two cubs were given their names on Monday, 100 days after they were born in the German capital. Their gender was also revealed. The pair are both boys.

The names were presented on wooden signs both in German and Chinese by Berlin mayor Michael Mueller and the Chinese Ambassador Wu Ken.

Meng Yuan and Meng Xiang
Meng Yuan and Meng Xiang, pictured, are the sons of China’s permanent loan pandas Meng Meng and Jiao Qing (AP/Michael Sohn)

Afterwards, the two cubs were presented to dozens of reporters for the first time in an open glass box containing a heating pad underneath a baby blanket.

One of them tried to sleep throughout the showing while the other crawled around wide-eyed turning his rear to the audience several times only to be put back in proper position with his face to the reporters by the two attending zookeepers.

Zookeepers initially hand-fed the cubs — the first giant pandas born in Germany — with bottles of milk pumped from mother Meng Meng, but they now feed on their own.

She and father Jiao Qing came to Germany from China two years ago.

The two little pandas weigh six kilograms each and will be presented to the public at the beginning of next year, once they are able to walk on their own.

There are fewer than 2,000 of the endangered pandas estimated to be alive in the wild today.