The twins, male cub Xiao Xiao and its sister Lei Lei, which were born at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo in June, took their first steps as beaming fans held up their smartphones to film the cuddly pair as they played together.
Twin panda cubs made their first public appearance Wednesday before devoted fans in Tokyo, but they will be on display only briefly for now — over three days — due to a spike in COVID-19 cases driven by the omicron variant, according to AP.
During her turn, the cubs were pretending to eat bamboo and “that was just adorable,” said Tanaka, whose hat and bag were decorated with panda-motif ornaments. “It’s so comforting to see them.”
The twins, which were palm-sized pink creatures when they were born, now weigh as much as a toddler each and have developed black-and-white fur. They enjoy climbing trees and playing together on the wood chips on the ground, according to the zoo.
In preparation for their debut, the twins and their mother were placed in a shared living quarter where they were exposed to sounds from a radio to get used to noise and voices from visitors.
The zoo has been closed since Tuesday as the highly transmissible omicron variant spreads rapidly across Japan. The zoo is open only for the twin panda exhibit until Friday, with 1,080 visitors who won slots in a competitive lottery granted access each day.