A new pair of giant pandas have been born in Southwest China's
Sichuan Province, a local panda research center said on Monday.
The cubs, born on Friday, had survived the critical first three
days after birth, said Li Desheng, deputy director of the Research
Center of the Sichuan-based Wolong Nature Reserve for Giant
Eight-year-old "Ye Ye" first gave birth to a female cub weighing
150 grams at the research center and then a male weighing 146
grams, said Li.
Researchers were giving "Ye Ye" breaks in caring for the cubs,
and mother and cubs were in good health.
China has seen 24 giant panda births in captivity in 15
deliveries so far this year, including nine twins, and 23 have
"It was a pleasant surprise to see so many pandas born this
year," said Zhang Zhihe, director with the China Committee of
Breeding Technique for Giant Pandas. "That's due to the hard work
of Chinese researchers, who have developed quite mature skills in
Experts say both artificial insemination and natural mating are
usually used at the same time to help female pandas become
pregnant, as the endangered animal only gives birth once a year,
each time to one or two cubs, while pandas bred in captivity are
even less sexually active.
China has been breeding giant pandas artificially since the
1960s. Last year, the country saw 33 born in captivity in 21
deliveries, 30 of which survived, setting a record.
Zhang attributed the baby boom to the fact that more female
pandas had reached breeding age in the past two years than in
Giant pandas are among the world's most endangered species.
China had raised 210 giant pandas in captivity by the end of
2006, while an estimated 1,590 live in the wild, most of them in
Sichuan and Northwest China's Shaanxi Province.
(Xinhua News Agency September 18, 2007)