A giant panda in captivity gave birth to two cubs
on Monday, bringing the number of new-born cubs to four in just one
Fourteen-year-old Eryatou delivered a female cub weighing 218.5
grams at about 7 p.m. at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center,
Sichuan Province, in southwest China.
The arrival of a second female cub, weighing just 98.5 grams, at
around 11 p.m. took breeders by surprise.
Eryatou has been able to feed both cubs so far, a rare feat
given that most pandas are only able to care for one cub at a time.
In the wild environment, only the stronger cub usually survives,
and for those raised in captivity, the breeders usually take each
of the twins away in turn for a period of time to ensure both
receive sufficient milk.
A male and a female were also born earlier on Monday in the same
breeding center, the fifth delivery for 12-year-old Jiaozi since
Chinese panda breeding centers have reported 14 cubs born so far
this year, including six pairs of twins.
According to estimates by experts, there are only about 1,590
giant pandas in the wild. The number of giant pandas in captivity
stood at about 210 in China.
The mating season of giant panda is mainly from March to May and
giant pandas only give birth once a year, usually to one or two
China has been raising pandas through artificial insemination
and breeding for nearly 50 years. However, it began to have more
than 10 cubs every year in recent years.
Thirty-four panda cubs were born by artificial insemination in
2006 and 30 of them have survived. Both were record figures.
(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2007)