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Giant panda gives birth to twin cubs in China

A rare giant panda has given birth to a pair of infant pandas. The panda twins are the first born in captivity this year.

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A researcher holds a newborn giant panda in Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan province. Giant panda Hai Zi gave birth to the world's first twin pandas this year in the reserve on Saturday.

Reuters

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In the animal kingdom, this birth was royal.

A giant panda gave birth to twins in China on Saturday, the first pair of the rare species to be born this year, The Telegraph reported.

Born to panda-mother Haizi in Sichuan province’s Wolong Nature Reserve, in China's southwest, the two cubs join just some 1,900 pandas worldwide (including about 300 endangered animals in captivity).

"This is the first time a giant panda has given birth to twins, anywhere in the world, this year," conservation expert Liu Chunhua told The Telegraph.

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While panda twins are not unusual, they pose special challenges because panda mothers tend to ignore one of the twins.  But the Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Center in China has had success in boosting the survival rate of twins by secretly swapping them. The BBC reports:

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