TORONTO -- The Toronto Zoo says a two-year-old red panda named Ila gave birth to two healthy cubs earlier this week.

The zoo says it is the first time a red panda has been pregnant there in 24 years.

Staff first announced the panda's pregnancy in June, after noticing multiple breeding attempts between two of the animals earlier this year.

Keepers are now observing the cubs by video cameras to ensure they don't disturb them from nursing.

The zoo says it's cautiously optimistic about the cubs surviving.

Red pandas are an endangered species native to southwestern China and the eastern Himalayas, and experts estimate there are between 2,500 and 10,000 of the animals in the wild.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 17, 2020.