Twin panda cubs at Ueno Zoo to go back on display Friday

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The female giant panda cub Lei Lei relaxes on a tree at Ueno Zoo in Taito Ward, Tokyo, on Wednesday.

The public will see heavier, more agile twin giant panda cubs when they are put back on display at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo on Friday.

The media on Wednesday was given a sneak peek of the twin cubs — male Xiao Xiao and female Lei Lei — ahead of their return to public display at the zoo in Taito Ward.

Born in June last year, the cubs made their public debut on Jan. 12 this year, but were only on display for three days before the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus forced the temporary closure of the zoo.

During the two or so months since being out of the public eye, both cubs put on about six kilograms, and now tip the scale at about 20 kilograms. They both also became quite adept at tree climbing.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Male twin Xiao Xiao takes a break.

From Friday, the cubs will be available for public viewing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors will be limited to about 2,800 per day, but must obtain a special admission ticket through a lottery on the zoo’s official website.

With Wednesday seeing the lifting of quasi-emergency priority measures to contain the pandemic in Tokyo, the zoo reopened its gate to welcome visitors, who looked happy to once again interact with the animals.