ATLANTA, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Ambassadors Melissa Katz and Jerome Pouille, representing China's Chengdu Panda Base, visited the panda twins at Zoo Atlanta on Thursday, bringing blessings from panda fans.
Katz from the United States, Pouille from France and Erica Chen Yinrong from China, were chosen from 1.16 million applicants in a global recruiting campaign last year to claim the cutest job in the world.
As panda ambassadors, or Pambassadors, they will advocate for the protection and conservation of pandas and all other endangered animal species. The three young people hit the road on Aug. 23, beginning a global public education tour.
In one of their main stops, Katz and Pouille were thrilled Thursday to visit the panda twins, which were born 52 days ago in Zoo Atlanta, one of the oldest zoos in the U.S.
The cubs, both male, are the first panda twins born in the United States since 1987. They have not seen the public since birth. The zoo's animal care team and Chinese keepers from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding are currently working 24 hours a day monitoring the boys' progress.
Katz and Pouille visited one of the cubs, referred to as "B" ahead of getting his formal name. They took pictures of the future star to share with the world through their popular websites and blogs.
A panda cub usually starts to develop its characteristic black-and-white coat 25 days after birth and cub B now looks totally different from when he was born as a pink and tiny body the size and weight of a butter stick. He has grown to over 2000 grams now.
"The twins are doing fantastic and they are reaching all the milestones that they are supposed to reach on time," zoo Curator of Mammals Rebecca Snyder said.
In a following public education program in the zoo's Panda Veranda, the two Pambassadors were eager to share the latest updates of the cubs.
Katz told participants the zoo was planning to launch a global vote to name the cubs. According to Chinese tradition, as she explained, panda cubs will get their names on the 100th day after birth.
Katz and Pouille also shared pictures of pandas they took during their intensive training in Chengdu last year. They also held a Q & A session, fielding a series of interesting questions and providing often unexpected answers to the audience.
"We are trying to deliver a lot of messages, but our main message is education and protecting pandas and other animals and respecting them," Katz said.
Snyder, who has been working with pandas since 1997, welcomed the Pambassadors concept.
"It brings a lot of attention again to the species and the need for conservation. I think it is really important to have people speak up for giant pandas," she said.
Pu Anning, chief of the Administrative Office of the Chengdu Panda Base, said: "As experts and keepers from Chengdu, the city of pandas, support the panda breading work in the U.S., we also learn and benefit a great deal from these communications with U.S. colleagues."
The Pambassadors will continue their global tour, traveling to Washington D.C. later this week as well as Latin America and Europe in the coming weeks.
Pandas, also known as giant pandas, are native to China and one of the most endangered animal species in the world. About 1,600 pandas live in the wild and more than 300 in captivity.