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Panda newborn to meet public within 6 months
【Society】2013-07-07  17:21:27
Taipei, July 7 (CNA) The long-awaited female baby panda born Saturday at Taipei Zoo will meet the public within the next six months, a zoo official said Sunday.

The animal, born to giant panda Yuan Yuan, her first offspring in more than five years since her arrival in Taiwan, is being kept in an incubator under the watchful eye of zoo workers, who are working round the clock to take care of the baby. The newborn is the first panda ever born in Taiwan.

"The next week will be crucial," said Chang Chih-hua, convener of the zoo's giant panda breeding center, saying that baby pandas have a higher death rate within the first week after birth.

The rate is even worse for pandas born to first-time mothers, according to Chang.

In the coming week, zoo personnel will watch for any weight gains in the baby and success in taking in her mother's milk, which is being fed by the zoo keepers.

The baby panda weighted 183.4 grams at birth, high for a newborn giant panda, Chang said. They normally weigh between 120 grams and 150 grams at birth.

The zoo will later follow the custom of letting the public participate in the naming of the baby panda, Chang added.

The baby panda, whose gender was determined as female Sunday, is the result of the third insemination effort since last March.

The eight-year-old Yuan Yuan and her partner, Tuan Tuan, were gifted to Taiwan by China in December 2008 as a cross-Taiwan Strait gesture of goodwill.

The zoo made public Sunday a recording of the delivery, which showed the baby producing loud and clear cries at birth and the mother picking up the baby in her mouth and bringing it to her chest.

However, the baby sustained a small wound to her right leg while she was struggling in her mother's mouth, Chang said, adding that the baby was alright after being treated.

Two panda conservation experts from Sichuan Province, home to China's major panda breeding facilities, have arrived in Taiwan to work with zoo personnel to care for the newborn.

(By Tai Ya-chen, Liu Shi-yih and Scully Hsiao)
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