Stories tagged panda births

Aug
17
2006

Giant Panda: Courtesy  drs2biz
Giant Panda: Courtesy drs2biz

Three new panda cubs were born in China this past week. The new births, brings the total of giant pandas born in captivity up to six for the year. The giant panda is an exotic, endangered species mostly found in China. China considers these pandas a national treasure.

One of the three new panda cubs has created quite the stir. Six-year-old Zhang Ka gave birth to the heaviest cub ever born in captivity after the longest labor period. The new cub weighed in at 218 grams (half a pound). Ordinarily, most cubs weigh between 83 and 190 grams at birth. Zhang Ka was in labor for 34 hours making her labor the longest in panda reproduction history. Reports say both the mother and cub are doing well.

Breeding giant pandas in captivity is a cumbersome task. Female pandas ovulate once a year with a tiny conception window. There is a minute window of 24 to 48 hours where artificial insemination methods are conducted. Overall, there are about 1,000 giant pandas living in the wild and about 140 pandas living in zoos and breeding centers around the world (however most are in China).

Giant Panda: Courtesy  Jellyrollhamster
Giant Panda: Courtesy Jellyrollhamster

Giant pandas are bear-like in shape with black and white coloration. Their ears, eye patches, legs and shoulder band are black while the rest of their body is white. Giant pandas live in temperate-zone bamboo forests in central China. Scientists are unsure of their life expectancies in the wild but in captivity the giant panda’s lifespan averages more than twenty years.

Just out of curiosity, what names would you pick for the new panda cubs?