A Tale of Twin Pandas

A Tale of Twin Pandas

Giant panda cubs arenamed through a national vote

October 23, 2013

By Stephanie Krauswith AP reporting

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ADAM K.THOMPSON—ATLANTA ZOO/REUTERS

Mei Lun and Mei Huanare the first giant panda twins born in the U.S. since 1987.

Meet Mei Lun and MeiHuan! The names of these twin male giant panda cubs were announced Wednesday atZoo Atlanta. Lun Lun, a 15-year-old giant panda, gave birth to the cubs on July15, 2013. Zoo officials followed Chinese custom and named the brothers afterwaiting 100 days. Until now, they were simply known as “Cub A” and “Cub B.”

Mei Lun and Mei Huanare the first twin panda cubs to survive in the United States. “We’re delightedto finally be able to place names with two youngsters who have not only made amark on the history of Zoo Atlanta, but who have also made history in theU.S.,” Raymond B. King, the zoo’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

Name that Cub!

Zookeepers have Lun Lun care for one cub at a time to ensure that each cub gets proper attention from mom.

VINO WONG—JOURNAL CONSTITUTION/AP

Zookeepers have Lun Lun care for one cub at a time to ensurethat each cub gets proper attention from mom.Zoo Atlanta teamed up with Good Morning America this month to put the pandas' names to apublic vote. China’s Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding provided thechoices of names. In just 13 days, 51,000 votes poured in to the show’swebsite.

Zoo Atlanta teamed upwith Good Morning America this month to put the pandas' names to apublic vote. China’s Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding provided thechoices of names. In just 13 days, 51,000 votes poured in to the show’swebsite. 

The winning names,pronounced may loon and may hwaan, come from the ancient Chinese saying"Mei Lun Mei Huan." The phrase was used to describe buildings thatare tall and magnificent. It has come to mean “something indescribablybeautiful and magnificent.”

A Playful Pair

Under a deal betweenChina and the U.S., giant pandas originally from China are only loaned toforeign zoos for scientific study for several years. Zookeepers at Zoo Atlantaare giving updates of the twins’ progress in an online blog. They say each ofthe cubs weighs about 8 pounds and that both are becoming more active everyday. The brothers are described as “squeaky” and “squirmy” as they scoot aroundtheir nursery. They are playful with each other and have bonded with theirmother, Lun Lun. Mei Lun and Mei Huan are the fourth and fifth offspring of LunLun and a male giant panda named Yang Yang.

The pandas areexpected to make their debut in a U.S. exhibit later this fall. For the pastthree months, the online world has watched the twins grow strong and healthy.“We share this joy with our colleagues in China and with the cubs’ fans aroundthe world,” King said.

Panda fans can followMei Lun and Mei Huan on PandaCam at zooatlanta.org.