Home / National News / First Look: Inside Zoo Atlanta’s Twin Panda Cubs’ Nursery


(ATLANTA) — Their birth last month was described as “sheer panda-monium” and now the twin panda cubs at Zoo Atlanta- the only surviving panda twins in the U.S. — continue to mercilessly charm the zoo’s veterinarian staff.

“Yes, I totally love these pandas,” Dr. Hayley Murphy, the zoo’s head veterinarian, told ABC News’ Matt Gutman.

Murphy gave Gutman an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the cub’s nursery where the cubs, though still fragile, continue to grow at an astounding pace.

At their birth on July 15, the cubs were about the size and shape of sticks of butter, weighing around four ounces each.  The newborns are the first giant pandas to be born in the United States in 2013 and the only giant panda twins ever to survive in the U.S.

Now the pandas are each around the size of a football.  Their devoted mother, 15 year old Lun Lun nurses them.  When they’re not with their mama panda, the cubs spend time curling up in an incubator.

They also spend lots of time with the zoo’s veterinarian staff, an interaction that demands humans be extra vigilant to keep the pandas in their care healthy. The panda nursery is called a “bio-secure” environment.

The veterinarian staff wears scrubs and goes through a special shower anytime they are going to be in contact with the cubs.

“We use this on our hands almost constantly in here,” Murphy said, squeezing a jet of rubbing alcohol into Gutman’s hands.

Though the team at Zoo Atlanta has become attached to the pandas, they still refer to them as “Cub A” and “Cub B.”

That will soon change and Good Morning America viewers will have a chance to weigh in.

Following Chinese tradition, Zoo Atlanta will wait until the pandas turn 100 days old to name them. At that point, Zoo Atlanta and its counterparts in China will select 10 names.

Stay tuned to GMA in the days ahead to find out how you can vote on which name the panda cubs will get.

Click HERE to watch Zoo Atlanta’s around-the-clock “Panda Cam.”

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