Birthday party held for twin panda cubs at Ueno Zoo

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Xiao Xiao, right, and his mother Shin Shin at Ueno Zoo in Taito Ward, Tokyo, on Monday.

A birthday party was held Monday at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo for twin giant panda cubs born there last June.

Fourteen families selected by lottery were invited to the party, where they wrote messages on birthday cards to the twins — Xiao Xiao, a male, and Lei Lei, a female — and watched them play at a facility called the Panda no Mori (pandas’ forest).

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Lei Lei with her back to the camera

Born on June 23 last year, they now weigh 27 kilograms each, up from 100 grams at birth. The cubs still cling to their mother, Shin Shin, but have also started playing with each other and sleeping in the trees on their own.

To meet the twins, visitors must enter a lottery on the park’s website.

The park’s spokesperson said: “We’re happy that they will reach their first birthday without incident. We want visitors to enjoy watching the twin pandas grow bigger by the day.”