BEIJING A U.S.-born giant panda has given birth
to twin cubs in a research centre in southwest China, state
media reported on Tuesday, its third pair of twins so far.
Eight-year-old Huamei, whose name means "China America,"
gave birth to the first cub at Sichuan province's Wolong Nature
Reserve early on Monday, Xinhua news agency said.
The second, a male weighing 129.8 grams, came three hours
The first cub's gender and weight have yet to be
established, but both the cubs and mother were doing well,
Xinhua quoted Li Desheng, vice-director of the reserve's
research centre, as saying.
The cubs are the third pair delivered by Huamei, who gave
birth to twins in 2004 and 2005 since returning to the
motherland in February 2004, the agency said.
Huamei is the first giant panda to have been born and
survived in the western hemisphere since 1990, Xinhua said.
An estimated 1,600 wild pandas live in nature reserves n
China's Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. China keeps about
210 in captivity.
Breeding pandas in captivity is extremely hard. Females
only ovulate once a year, with a slim 24- to 48-hour window for
breeding when artificial reproduction methods are usually
Pandas eat bamboo shoots and spend a lot of time sleeping.
They usually wean their young at around 18 months, and healthy
pandas live into their late 20s or early 30s.