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'Olympic panda' born in SW China

(Xinhua)

08:53, July 30, 2012

CHENGDU, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Veterinarians in southwest China's Sichuan province said a 20-year-old panda gave birth to the panda research center's first cub of the year on Saturday, the first day of the 2012 Olympic Games.

The male cub was born to female panda Li Li, already a mother of four, at 11:20 p.m. in the Chengdu Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Sichuan's provincial capital of Chengdu.

The successful birth marked a blissful moment for the mother at her advanced maternal age, as the average lifespan for the endangered bear is 25 years.

Li Li became pregnant after naturally mating with male panda Yong Yong in April. Ahead of the delivery on Saturday night, she ate very little for three days and endured two hours of labor.

The newborn cub weighed 162 grams at birth, and both the mother and the cub were in healthy conditions, according to staff members.

Dubbed the hometown of giant pandas, Sichuan has two panda bases, one in Chengdu and the other in Wolong. The Wolong center welcomed China's first panda cubs this year, a pair of twins, on July 11.

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