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Pandamania: Two cubs from a French Zoo take their first steps in public

PARIS (AP), -- Then, a slow crawl. Next, a quick slip across the slippery stone floor at their Beauval Zoo near Paris. Finally, the big moment when the twin giant panda cubs made their first public steps on Saturday.

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Pandamania: Two cubs from a French Zoo take their first steps in public

The August birth of the female twins was a surprise. Their mother Huan Huan and their father Yuan Zi are currently at Beauval Zoo south of Paris on a 10-year loan to China. This loan is meant to highlight France's good ties. After Yuan Meng's 2017 birth, the first French panda to be born in France was Yuanlili.

The zoo released a video on Saturday showing the twin cubs making their way through the territory. As the cubs attempt to climb nearby rocks, a caretaker films them using a smartphone.

The cubs will spend some years in France, before being sent to China.

After the athletes revealed the names of the female cubs during a November ceremony, Kylian Mbappe, a French soccer star, and Zhang Jiaqi (a Chinese Olympic champion in diving), Zhang Jiaqi became the godparents.

About 1,800 pandas live in the wild in China, and approximately 500 are kept in captivity around the world.

China has been a friend to friendly countries for many decades with its unofficial national macot, known as "panda diplomacy." Recently, China has loaned pandas on commercial terms to zoos.

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