News

Public names Atlanta Zoo’s twin panda cubs

Public names Atlanta Zoo’s twin panda cubs

PANDA CUBS: Giant panda twin cubs Mei Huan (L) and Mei Lun, the first pair of twin giant panda cubs to be born in the United States and survive, are pictured in this Zoo Atlanta photo. Photo: Reuters

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) – The first twin giant panda cubs to be born in the United States and survive have been given names that come from a Chinese idiom meaning “something indescribably beautiful and magnificent,” zoo officials in Atlanta said on Wednesday.

The names – Mei Lun (may loon) and Mei Huan (may hwaan) – were announced when the male cubs reached 100 days old, in keeping with ancient Chinese tradition.

More than 51,000 people voted on ABC television’s “Good Morning America” website to choose from five sets of names suggested for the pair by staff at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China, Zoo Atlanta officials said.

“We’re delighted to finally be able to place names with two youngsters who have not only made an indelible mark on the history of Zoo Atlanta, but who have also made history in the U.S.,” said Zoo Atlanta President and Chief Executive Raymond King.

The panda cubs, born in July at Zoo Atlanta, will not be on public view until late fall. Until then they can be seen live via a webcam on the zoo’s website, said zoo spokeswoman Keisha Hines.

The cubs were the fourth and fifth babies born to mother Lun Lun and male Yang Yang, both 15. All five cubs were the product of artificial insemination, according to zoo officials.

Giant pandas are an endangered species that only live in the wild in a few mountain ranges in central China. An estimated 1,600 live in the wild and about 300 in captivity, mostly in China, zoo officials said.

Recent Headlines

in Sports

NFL: Legal process will play role in punishments

nfl

Punishment for players implicated in domestic violence will not be imposed upon arrest but at some point "farther down the process."

in National

Ebola czar starts work, drugmakers launch vaccine drive

ebola

The Obama administration is ramping up its response to the potential spread of the virus.

in National, World

Canadian parliament attacked, soldier fatally shot

canadashooting

A gunman shot a soldier and then entered the country's parliament buildings, with at least 30 shots fired in dramatic scenes in the heart of the Canadian capital.

in National

U.S. farmers battling bugs

harvest

With record harvests depressing prices, farmers are using chemicals that protect stored grain from critters.

in Entertainment

Oprah, Neil Patrick Harris among year’s most ‘fascinating’

FILE - This Sept. 20, 2009 file photo shows host Neil Patrick Harris during the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Harris will host the Emmys again. CBS will air the Emmycast live from Los Angeles on Sept. 22. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, file)

Barbara Walters is back with her annual TV special.