A photo of a screen shows the panda Huan Huan inside her box after giving birth to twin cubs at Beauval Zoo in Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, central France, on Aug 4, 2017. (GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP)
SAINT-AIGNAN, France - Huan Huan, the female panda on loan to France from China, has delivered twin cubs on Friday night, but one cub died shortly after its birth, according to the French zoo.
In her first delivery, Huan Huan "was very calm" and has given birth to two cubs at an interval of a few minutes, the zoo said. The first panda cub was born at 10:18 p.m. local time (2018 GMT), and the other came 14 minutes later.
In the wild, female pandas raise only one cub, the "strongest", the one that has the most chances of survival, and abandon the second. Huan Huan took care of the first cub immediately after its birth, but chose the second cub and abandoned the first after the second cub was born.
The second of twin cubs born to panda Huan Huan is seen inside an incubator at Beauval Zoo in Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, central France, on Aug 4, 2017. (GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP)
The first cub was put immediately to the incubator but was announced dead shortly.
Huan Huan and her male partner Yuan Zi arrived in central France's Beauval Zoo in January 2012. They are on loan from China for 10 years.
A female panda is only on heat once a year for two days.
Two Chinese caretakers, specialized in baby pandas, arrived at the animal park to help look after the panda family 24 hours a day until January 2018. They will also train the zoo's staff to master the first steps necessary for a good care of the new comers.
There are about 2,000 pandas in the world. They are classified as "vulnerable" species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.