A giant panda has given birth to twin cubs – the first ever to be born in France.
But joy for Huan Huan was mixed with sadness as one of the pair died shortly afterwards.
Chinese birthing specialists were at hand at Beauval Zoo, southwest of Paris, for the birth on Friday night.
Huan Huan is on loan there from China.
But despite the expertise of veterinary staff, nothing could be done to save the first born.
“Huan Huan remained very calm throughout. The first baby came quickly and Huan Huan held it against her and licked it clean,” the zoo said in a statement.
“The second followed 14 minutes later. Huan Huan abandonned the first and looked after the second.”
The surviving twin, a male, will be formally named by China at a ceremony to be attended by French First Lady Brigitte Macron, who has agreed to be the baby panda’s godmother.
While an adult female panda can weigh up to 125 kilos, a baby panda weighs barely 120 grams at birth.
Huan Huan and her partner Yuan Zi, whose names translate as “Joy” and “Podgy” respectively, came to France in 2012, their arrival hailed as a sign of warming diplomatic ties between Paris and Beijing.
They are due to stay until 2022 before being returned to China. Their offspring will stay in France until the age of two or three before being returned to China.