September 5, 2009

Giant panda cub born in China

A giant panda who delivered a male cub last year has given birth to a female cub at a breeding center in northwest China, officials said.

Nine-year-old Zhuzhu, whose name means pearl, gave birth to her newest cub Friday at the Shaanxi Rare Wild Animals Rescue and Breeding Research Center in Xi'an, China's state-run news agency, Xinhua, reported Saturday.

Zhuzhu was artificially inseminated, as was 6-year-old Lousheng, who gave birth three weeks ago to a male and a female cub.

The recent baby boom indicates we have made some progress in pandas' semen collection and freezing as well as prenatal care, center spokesman Jin Xuelin said.

The center now has 21 pandas with another 180 being cared for in zoos throughout the world, Xinhua reported. An estimated 1,590 pandas live in the wild in China, most of them in the forests of Sichuan and the provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu.