Baby boom for giant pandas, with three cubs born in two days

21:52, July 27, 2010      

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Southwest China's Sichuan Province, home to the endangered giant pandas, has experienced a "baby boom" for the endangered species with three cubs born in two days.

Ju Xiao, an eight-year-old panda, gave birth to twins Tuesday at Ya'an reserve under China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong.

The cubs were born at 10:49 a.m. and 12:35 p.m. respectively, said Tang Chunxiang, deputy chief of the center.

Ju Xiao, a first-time mother, nursed only the first cub and ignored the second, which was immediately sent to a panda nursery, said Tang.

The second cub, male, weighed 135 grams.

The gender of the first cub was not immediately known as the mother panda stopped people from approaching it, said Tang.

Pandas rarely give birth to twins and nearly all mothers only take the first cub as their own.

Twin cubs were born at Beijing Zoo in early July, but the careless mother accidentally killed one after abandoning the other.

The Wolong center has 155 pandas, including the abandoned cub from Beijing.

On Monday, a heroic panda mother at the Chengdu research base gave birth to her fourth surviving cub, a male weighing 175 grams, said panda expert Wu Kongju in Chengdu.

Seventeen-year-old Er Yatou, literally meaning "Second Daughter," gave birth to a male cub in 2006 and twins in 2007.

The Chengdu base has 88 pandas.

Giant pandas are among the world's most endangered species. Statistics from the State Forestry Administration show some 1,590 pandas live in the wild, mostly in the mountains of Sichuan, and more than 210 live in captivity.

Source: Xinhua


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