Panda twins born at China wildlife centre

25th Jun 2013

China's raft of cultural sites and architectural delights draw masses of tourists on group tours every year.

But for many animal lovers, nothing, not even the Great Wall of China nor the Terracotta Army, can compare with new-born pandas.

So they will be cheered by the news a wildlife centre in south-west China says a giant panda has given birth to twins.

They are the first pair of the endangered species born in the world this year, according to the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda in Sichuan province.

It says giant panda Haizi gave birth to the two cubs 10 minutes apart on Saturday (June 22).

Pandas are critically endangered because of poaching and development.

There are only around 1,600 of them left in the wild. More than 300 live in captivity, the majority in China's breeding programmes.

One of the newborn cubs is a female and weighs 79.2 grams (2.79 ounces), the other's sex is unknown as Haizi has yet to release it from her maternal embrace.

Giant pandas have problems breeding, with females fertile for only two or three days each year.

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