August 22, 2009

Panda gives birth to twins in China

A giant panda born through artificial insemination has given birth to twins after being artificially inseminated herself, officials in northwest China said.

The success of Lousheng's delivery is a great step forward in our propagation technologies, said Jin Xuelin, a spokesman for the Shaanxi Rare Wild Animals Rescue and Breeding Research Center.

Lousheng, age 6, gave birth Wednesday to healthy male and female cubs. She was artificially inseminated in March, but caretakers didn't learn she was pregnant until 10 days before the birth of her cubs, Xinhua, China's state-run news agency, reported Saturday.

Lousheng was inseminated with sperm from two male pandas, Sansan and Xiaoming. DNA tests are to determine which male fathered the cubs, veterinarian Ma Qingyi said.

An estimated 1,590 pandas live in the wild in China, while another 180 have been bred in captivity, Xinhua reported.