2015102609062473605Thirteen baby pandas, including six sets of twins, have made their debut in southwest China’s Chengdu city at an event called “Discovering Twin Cubs.”

The event was jointly held by the United Nations Development Program and the Chengdu Panda Breeding Base. The organizations called on panda enthusiasts and people across the world to help protect the environment.

China’s black and white national treasures, and fluffy envoys of friendship have earned their latest title: UN ambassadors.

Patrick Haverman, deputy country director at the UNDP, declared that twin cubs born in September to Qinghe, a 14-year-old panda, have been designated as the image ambassadors of the UNDP.

Haverman also commissioned a naming contest for the six sets of twins, open to panda fans around the world.

And participants will have chance to be panda care-takers for one day in Chengdu.

“If we need a species with great influence capable of raising the public’s environment protection awareness, look no further than the giant panda,” said Dr. Zhang Zhihe, director of Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Base.

In 2015, a total of 15 panda cubs, including the 12 twins, were born at the Chengdu breeding base, a new record.

And although they are overjoyed by the new arrivals, experts at the base are not exactly sure why so many twins were born.

Some say that it might be down to better feeding and management programs.

“If a giant panda gives birth to twins in the wild, the mother is seldom able to take care of both cubs, so she usually picks one which is physically stronger and abandons the other. For captive giant pandas, we can take out the deserted and less cared-for cub and place it into an incubator. The babies are then taken alternately to their mother’s care,” said Yuan Bo, Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Base.

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