A giant panda once believed to be male has given
birth to twin cubs in southwest China's Sichuan Province, but she is now fighting for
Jinzhu, 11, delivered two female cubs at midnight on Monday at
Wolong Nature Reserve for Giant Pandas. The cubs, born one hour
apart, weigh 190 grams and 70 grams.
However, Jinzhu suffered serious hemorrhaging and is currently
in critical condition.
Jinzhu was classified as a male after her birth on August 12,
1996 owing to "inconspicuous secondary sex characteristics and
behavior," scientists said.
"The penis of an adult panda is only about three centimeters
long," said Li Desheng, a panda expert, as an excuse for the
In December 2000, Jinzhu was sent to Japan to mate with a female
panda. When the pandas showed complete disinterest, experts decided
to turn to artificial insemination, leading to the discovery that
Jinzhu had no penis.
Jinzhu was sent back to China in December 2002. Some experts
concluded that the panda was hermaphroditic while others said its
sexual organs were underdeveloped.
It wasn't until 2005 that scientists carried out an endoscopic
examination and found that Jinzhu's ovaries were positioned in the
wrong place. Doctors managed to correct the problem in a two-hour
The giant panda is one of the world's most exotic and endangered
species and is found only in China, where it is a national
treasure. Studies from the State Forestry Administration show there
are over 180 giant pandas living in captivity on the Chinese
Experts had previously estimated there were 1,590 giant pandas
living in the wild in China, but Chinese and British scientists
announced in June that there could be as many as 3,000 after a
survey using a new method to profile DNA from giant panda
(Xinhua News Agency August 9, 2007)