(ATLANTA) -- The names of the giant panda cubs at Zoo Atlanta were unveiled on Wednesday as the twins turned 100 days old, a milestone date in the Chinese tradition when pandas are named.
The first ever twin panda cubs to survive in the United States have simply been known as “Cub A” and “Cub B” from their birth on July 15 -- until now.
Zoo Atlanta teamed up with ABC's Good Morning America this October to put the pandas’ names to a public vote. Five sets of names, all from ancient Chinese idioms, were provided by the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China’s Sichuan province, and thousands of votes poured in to GoodMorningAmerica.com.
The winning names -- Mei Lun and Mei Huan (pronounced May Loon and May Hwaan) -- come from the ancient Chinese idiom ”Mei Lun Mei Huan,” which was used to describe constructed buildings that are tall and magnificent. It has come to mean something indescribably beautiful and magnificent.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, panda fans from across the United States, zoo staff, local school children and the Zoo Atlanta Panda Sweepstakes winner gathered on Wednesday at Zoo Atlanta for the 100-day naming celebration.
For the last three months, the world has watched the twin pandas grow into strong and healthy cubs. Now approximately 8 pounds, the brothers are becoming more active each day, according to zookeepers, who write a blog on their progress. The cubs scoot around the specially-designed nursery where they’ve been reared, and are playful with each other and have bonded with their mother, Lun Lun.
Lun Lun, a 15-year-old giant panda, gave birth to the twins on July 15. The pandas are expected to make their debut in an exhibit later this fall.
“We in Atlanta and Georgia are fortunate stewards of these amazing animals, which are entrusted to our care on loan from China, but there are people around the world who feel a personal stake in their lives,” Zoo Atlanta President and CEO Raymond B. King said in a statement on the zoo’s website. “Giant pandas have a unique capacity to carry a conservation message, and engaging and uniting their many fans is one way we have of letting that message resonate even more powerfully.”
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