Giant Panda Cubs Debut
Published: August 22, 2015
Giant Panda Cubs Debut, A cuddly caboodle of giant panda cubs made their first appearance at a breeding centre in Ya’an, Sichuan province on August 20.
Lucky visitors were thrilled to see the new arrivals, who were put on display in wicker baskets at a safe distance from tourists.
A total of 10 giant panda cubs have been born at the centre this year, and the little mites range in age from one week to two months, The People’s Daily Online reported.
According to Luo Bo, the deputy minister of Animal Management at China Conservation and Research Centre, there has been a healthy boom in the birth of panda cubs, especially the number of twin cubs, this year.
So far, there have been seven sets of twins born this year – the most twins born in a year on the centre’s record.
Twin cubs have a better chance of survival in centres like these, as in the wild the mother panda will give her milk to only one cub and the other usually dies.
Giant panda cubs are extremely rare as female pandas are only in estrus – that is, ready to accept a male and mate – for around two to three days a year.
More problems occur when pandas are in captivity, as male pandas have been known to lose their sex drive, forcing scientists to try extreme methods including artificial insemination, giving male pandas Viagra and showing them videos of other pandas mating.
Once a female is pregnant, the gestation period for a baby panda lasts around 95 to 160 days.
When a panda cub is first born it is pink, blind and toothless, weighing only 90 to 130 grams – a mere one eight-hundredth of its mother’s weight.
A month after birth, the colour pattern of the cub’s fur is fully developed.
At around 70 to 80 days it will begin to crawl and play with its mother or, in these conditions, with other pandas.
The giant panda is listed as endangered in the World Conservation Union’s ‘red list’ of threatened species.
There are around 1,864 left in the wild, and more than 300 more live in zoos and breeding centres around the world.
All of the world’s wild giant pandas live in China, and, according to a report by the State Forestry Administration, reported by chinadaily.com, around 75 per cent of them live in Sichuan itself.
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