Panda Twins at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo to Learn to Live Separately

Courtesy of Tokyo Zoological Park Society
Twin giant panda cubs Xiao Xiao, center, and Lei Lei, right, eat with their mother Shin Shin in December 2022.

The twin giant pandas born at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo in June 2021 will start learning to live separately from their mother starting March 10, the Tokyo metropolitan government announced Thursday.

Pandas are solitary animals and generally leave their mothers between 1½ to 2 years old in the wild.

The male cub Xiao Xiao and the female cub Lei Lei are 21 months old and are still nursing. However, their permanent teeth have grown in, and they are eating the same foods as their mother, Shin Shin.

The zoo will gradually decrease the amount of time the twins and their mother spend together. The plan is for the cubs to completely live separately from their mother by the end of the month. Eventually the cubs will live separately from each other as well.