December 30, 2016 / 1:14 PM / a year ago

Vienna Zoo says twin panda cubs venture out of cave, growing healthily

VIENNA (Reuters) - Twin panda cubs born last summer at Vienna’s Schoenbrunn Zoo have ventured out of their cave to make their public debut, keepers said on Friday, adding the sister and brother were growing up healthily.

Giant panda twin cubs Fu Feng and Fu Ban, born on August 7, 2016, are seen in this handout provided by Schoenbrunn Zoo on November 23, 2016 in Vienna, Austria. Picture taken on November 7, 2016. Daniel Zupanc/Courtesy of Schoenbrunn Zoo/Handout via REUTERS

Giant panda Yang Yang, who gave birth to female Fu Feng and male Fu Ban in August, has been raising the two in a cave hidden from the public eye.

They first stepped out of the cave into their wider enclosure on Thursday evening to explore their surroundings, with the first zoo visitors seeing them out and about on Friday morning, according to the zoo.

“For days, the little ones have looked out curiously from the cave. Yesterday evening the female Fu Feng first climbed out of the cave,” zoo director Dagmar Schratter said in a statement, and her brother soon followed.

The cubs, who still require a lot of sleep, are growing up well, the zoo said, with Fu Feng already weighing 8.8 kilograms (about 19 pounds) and Fu Ban 6.55 kilograms (about 14 pounds).

“Their only use of their teeth so far is when they bite playfully,” Schratter said. “Bamboo is not yet on their menu, but only their mother’s milk.”

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Larry King

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