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Twin Panda Cubs Born in Sichuan
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A nine-year-old giant panda gave birth to twin cubs at a panda research center Saturday in southwest China's Sichuan Province, according to local sources.

The cubs, a female and a male, were born at midnight Saturday, weighing 160 and 170 grams respectively.

Their mother, Princess, would take care of the daughter while the son is put on artificial feeding in the research center of Wolong Nature Reserve for Giant Pandas, said Li Desheng, vice director of the center.

Princess was the first giant panda in the world that was brought up by humans since birth. Born on August 8, 1998, Princess weighed 216 grams. However, her mom, Panda No.21, was scared by the newborn and refused to feed her. Experts with the research center had to milk the mother and feed Princess artificially.

Princess reacted similarly when she delivered her first twin cubs in 2003. Experts used toys and VCDs to teach her how to nurse her cubs.

To date, Princess has delivered eight cubs.

China made a major breakthrough in artificial panda breeding in the 1990s, with the number of newborn captive cubs rising from nine in 2000 to more than 20 last year.

This year has seen 16 panda cubs born in captivity.

The giant panda is one of the world's rarest animals, with about 1,590 living in the wild in China, mostly in the southwest part of the country. Another 200 have been bred in captivity.

Giant Panda "Princess"

(Xinhua News Agency August 20, 2007)

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