August 19, 2009

Panda Gives Birth To Twins

State media announced Wednesday that a giant panda in northern China has given birth to twins, which is good news for the endangered species.

The official Xinhua news agency reported that six-year-old Lousheng delivered a male and female cub in Shaanxi province on Tuesday after being artificially inseminated, which is the same way she was born.

According to the report, The Shaanxi Rare Wildlife Rescue and Breeding Research Center is now home to 20 pandas.

The report quoted Ma Qingyi, head of the panda center's veterinary hospital, saying that sperm from two males was used to inseminate Lousheng, so the identity of the father will only be revealed after the cubs undergo DNA tests.

The news comes after World Wildlife Fund, a conservation group, warned that rapid economic development in China was damaging the panda's habitat and raising the risk of extinction for the bear species in the next couple generations.

The animals have been known to have low libidos, frustrating the efforts being made to boost their population.

Currently, there are about 1,590 pandas living in the Wild in China.  At least 180 have been bred in captivity, according to earlier reports.