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Red panda twins make debut at Sydney zoo

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Twin red pandas made their public debut at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo on Wednesday, the latest additions to a breeding program that aims to ensure the survival of the endangered species.

Zoo keepers cuddled and showed off the three-month-old males, named Jinshu and Tenzin, trying to weigh the wriggling cubs on some scales.

The proud parents, meanwhile, Wanmei and Mayhem, completely ignored the visitors crowding around the enclosure and continued their morning snooze.

“They’re just brilliant, they’re beautiful. It’s amazing to be able to hold an endangered animal in my hands knowing that we’ve just contributed to the world population,” said a Taronga Zoo worker who gave her name as Bobby-Jo.

Red pandas are found across the Himalayan mountains and foothills of northern India, China, Nepal and Bhutan. Experts believe as few as 2,500 survive in the wild where they are threatened by deforestation and poaching.

About 40 cubs have been born at the Sydney zoo since it began its red panda breeding program in 1977.