Giant panda Yuan Yuan gives birth to second cub at Taipei Zoo

06/29/2020 11:31 AM
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Zookeepers feeding the newborn cub/ Photo from facebook.com/TaipeiZoo
Zookeepers feeding the newborn cub/ Photo from facebook.com/TaipeiZoo

Taipei, June 29 (CNA) Giant panda Yuan Yuan (圓圓) gave birth to her second cub on Sunday, after years of artificial insemination efforts, according to the Taipei Zoo.

The new female cub, which weighed 186 grams at birth, is currently being kept in incubator, the zoo said Monday.

It is the second cub born to Yuan Yuan and Tuan Tuan (團團), two giant pandas gifted to Taiwan by China in 2008. Their first cub Yuan Zai (圓仔), also a female, was born in 2013.

The two cubs were produced by means of artificial insemination, as attempts to have Yuan Yuan and Tuan Tuan mate have been unsuccessful, according to the zoo.

The zoo had been artificially inseminating Yuan Yuan each breeding season since Yuan Zai was born, but the efforts proved unsuccessful until February this year, Taipei Zoo spokesperson Eric Tsao (曹先紹) said.

It is incredibly difficult to tell if a panda is pregnant, as "phantom pregnancies" often occur, Tsao said. The indicators in a pseudo-pregnant panda, including loss of appetite and higher hormone levels, can be same as in a pregnant one, he said.

In pandas, the implantation of a fertilized egg can also take place long after the breeding season, so the zoo has to closely monitor them after artificial insemination, Tsao said.

(By Liang Pei-chi and Chiang Yi-ching)

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