Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Giant Panda Gives Birth to Twins at National Zoo

Giant Panda Gives Birth to Twins at National Zoo

Giant panda’s aren’t too interested in having sex, so when the endangered species produces offspring, it’s a big deal.

Mei Xiang, a 17-year-old giant panda, gave birth to healthy twin cubs at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC, on Saturday.

The cubs are Mei Xiang’s third and fourth. She gave birth to two cubs in 2013, although one was stillborn. Her first cub was born in 2005.

There are roughly 1,800 giant pandas left in the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Pandas are vital to China’s forests, as they help facilitate vegetation by spreading seeds, but they’ve become endangered owing to habitat loss. They are also notoriously difficult to breed: Female pandas only have a 24- to 72-hour fertility window each year. While in captivity, pandas appear to lose interest in mating or simply don’t know how.

That’s why Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated back in April. Zookeepers discovered she was pregnant just three days before she gave birth.

Photo credit: Smithsonian National Zoo

Veterinarians examined one of the cubs. It weighs 4.8 ounces and is hairless and blind—totally normal for a baby bear. Although the cubs appear healthy, zoo officials note that this is crucial time for their survival.

Photo credit: Smithsonian National Zoo

“We’re very cautious,” zoo director Dennis Kelly said at a press conference. “In 2012, we lost a cub after six days. This is still a very fragile time.”

Photo credit: Smithsonian National Zoo

Mei Xiang will care for one cub at a time while veterinarians care for the other, so both can receive sufficient bonding time. The sex of the cubs has yet to be determined, with officials waiting to name them until they determine the genders.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

30 Whales Have Died Off the Coast of Alaska and No One Knows Why

Humans: The Worst Predators on the Planet

Earth Is Facing Most Severe Extinction Crisis in 65 Million Years

Anika Chebrolu of Frisco, Texas has been named "America's Top Young Scientist" for identifying a molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Anika Chebrolu / YouTube

Scientists at top universities searching for a coronavirus cure have just gotten help from an unexpected source: a 14-year-old from Texas.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Fish exposed to endocrine-disrupting compounds, like this inland silverside fish, can pass on health problems to future generations. Bill Stagnaro / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Brian Bienkowski

Fish exposed to endocrine-disrupting compounds pass on health problems to future generations, including deformities, reduced survival, and reproductive problems, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Poor eating habits, lack of exercise, genetics, and a bunch of other things are known to be behind excessive weight gain. But, did you know that how much sleep you get each night can also determine how much weight you gain or lose?

Read More Show Less
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declares victory during the Labor Party Election Night Function at Auckland Town Hall on Oct. 17, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. Hannah Peters / Getty Images

Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister who has emerged as a leader on the climate crisis and the coronavirus pandemic, has won a second term in office.

Read More Show Less
A woman holds a handful of vitamin C. VO IMAGES / Getty Images

By Laura Beil

Consumers have long turned to vitamins and herbs to try to protect themselves from disease. This pandemic is no different — especially with headlines that scream "This supplement could save you from coronavirus."

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch