NOW HERE'S SOMETHING YOU don't see every day. Two blind and helpless baby pandas have just been born at Nordens Ark, a refuge for rare and endangered animals in the western Swedish province of Bohuslän.
"It's delightful to have gotten two little panda cubs," said Ewa Wikberg, a zoologist working at Nordens Ark, in a press release. "So far, the veterinarians haven't had a chance to examine the new arrivals, and that's why we don't yet know if they are boys or girls."
Pandas are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity. Nordens Ark has witnessed the birth of fifteen pandas over the years. The new birth is the first in the last five.
Alongside exotic creatures like the panda, Nordens Ark, which is built on an ancient rural estate and receives some 100,000 visitors annually, is mainly concerned with reintroducing virtually extinct European animals to their original habitat. These include the peregrine falcon, the white stork, the European wildcat and lynx, the eagle owl, the otter, the white-backed woodpecker, the peregrine falcon, the lesser white-fronted goose, the wolverine, and the green toad.
While the foundation has no plans to introduce pandas to Swedish forests, visitors may be able to take a first look at the cubs some time this fall.
Quote and photo: Nordens Ark