A giant panda gave birth to twin cubs over the weekend at the China Conservation and Research Centre.
- (PHOTO: REUTERS/Stringer)
Becoming the first of their kind to be born this year, the giant panda gave birth to twin cubs on Sunday afternoon. It has been determined that one of the cubs is a female, according to the Associated Press, weighing less than 3 ounces. The weight and sex of the second has not yet been determined because the mother, Haizi, was unwilling to release the cub from her embrace.
The pandas were born at the Wolong National Nature Reserve, a protected area located in Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province. With almost 500 acres of land, the conservation center is the home to over 4,000 different species and at least 150 giant pandas.
Giant pandas are a largely endangered species due to poaching and development. A peaceful species, the pandas subsist almost entirely on bamboo and can eat anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds of it a day. The rarest member of the bear family, a newborn baby panda is approximately the same size as a stick of butter or smart phone. However, pandas can grow up to weigh more than 330 pounds and grow up to four feet in height.
A survey conducted in 2004 concluded that there were about 1,600 great pandas still in the wild. At least 40 reserves exist in Southwestern China that are dedicated to preserving the natural habitat of pandas, including protection from illegal logging and poaching.