Giant panda twins at French zoo get names

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One of the panda twin cubs is seen during their Chinese name unveiling ceremony at Beauval Zoo in central France, Nov. 18, 2021. Chinese Olympic gold medalist Zhang Jiaqi and French football star Kylian Mbappe revealed on Thursday the names of the newborn giant panda cubs at Beauval Zoo in central France. More than 120,000 French netizens have cast their vote to choose Huan Lili and Yuan Dudu from five pairs of names for the twin cubs, zoo officials said, adding that the two names represent the friendship between France and China as well as the wish for good health to the cubs. The twin cubs were born to mother Huan Huan and father Yuan Zai in August. The parents arrived in France in 2012. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

Chinese Olympic gold medalist Zhang Jiaqi and French football star Kylian Mbappe revealed on Thursday the names of the newborn giant panda cubs at Beauval Zoo in central France.

More than 120,000 French netizens have cast their vote to choose Huan Lili and Yuan Dudu from five pairs of names for the twin cubs, zoo officials said, adding that the two names represent the friendship between France and China as well as the wish for good health to the cubs.

The twin cubs were born to mother Huan Huan and father Yuan Zai in August. The parents arrived in France in 2012.

"In about two months, another panda, one of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games mascots, Bing Dwen Dwen, will draw the world's attention in my hometown Beijing. I also look forward to meeting athletes from around the world in Paris in 2024," Zhang told journalists.

Mbappe said that it was a memorable moment to participate in such an event with an Olympic champion. He felt proud and honored.

Yu Jinsong, Charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy to France, said that Huan Huan and Yuan Zai have been expanding their family since arrival, thanks to the joint efforts of Beauval Zoo and China's Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. They are symbols of Sino-French friendship.

In 2017, Huan Huan gave birth to twin cubs, the first panda babies born in France. The first cub died shortly after its birth and the second one was named Yuan Meng. 

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