Zoo: Panda cubs doing well, challenging night for caretakers

In this photo provided by the Smithsonian's National Zoo, one of the giant panda cubs is examined by veterinarians after being born at Smithsonian's National Zoo on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, in Washington. The National Zoo in Washington says its adult female panda has had twins. (Becky Malinsky/Smithsonian's National Zoo via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Zoo says two panda cubs born Saturday are doing well, but their caretakers had a challenging night.

Because pandas won’t usually nurse twins if left to their own devices, officials are following a procedure developed by Chinese breeders. Panda mom Mei Xiang gets to nurse and bond with one cub at a time. The other cub is kept in an incubator. Every several hours, the cubs are swapped.

The zoo said Monday that when caretakers tried to swap the cubs late Sunday, Mei Xiang would not set down the cub she was holding. As a result, the team cared for the smaller cub, feeding it with a bottle and through a feeding tube, until about 7 a.m. Monday when a successful swap was made.


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