Today's Paper

China’s panda population up

Four giant panda cubs born within 14 hours at breeding base

BEIJING: In a rarity in the breeding history of one of the most endangered animals in the world, four giant panda cubs were born within 14 hours at a breeding base in southwest China.

Nine-year-old Qiyuan, meaning ‘magic luck’ in Chinese, gave birth to a pair of twin female cubs at the Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Centre in Sichuan province, a centre expert said.

Eight-year-old Chenggong, meaning ‘success’ in Chinese, gave birth to a cub and Zhuzhu, meaning ‘pearl,’ also of the same age, to another one, expert Yang Feifei was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

The centre has 71 pandas in captivity, the largest of its kind in the world. Twelve panda twins were born in captivity in China last year, the most since an artificial breeding programme was launched more than 40 years ago. Only about 1,590 pandas live in the wild in China, mostly in bamboo-covered mountainous regions in Sichuan and the northwestern provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu.

Another 180 are being bred in captivity.

The habitat of “sex-shy” pandas is shrinking with low survival and birth rates, prompting authorities to intensify conservation efforts. — PTI

Recommended for you