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Twin Giant Pandas Born at China Conservation Center – First of 2013

Tuesday, 25 Jun 2013 10:13 AM

By Michael Mullins

Twin giant pandas were born ten minutes apart in southwest China at a conservation and research facility on Saturday.

The giant pandas, which will each weigh around 350 pounds as adults, were just under three ounces each and are tiny enough to fit in the palm of one's hand, CBS News reported.

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The cubs were born to a giant panda named Haizi at the China Conservation and Research Center, located in the 494,000-acre Wolong Nature Reserve complex in the Sichuan Province.

According to CBS News, the twin giant pandas are the first to be born this year.

The first cub was a 2.79 ounce female, while the second cub's sex has yet to be determined by the facility's staff, due to the fact that the mother has held it close to her chest since its birth.

Born with white coats, pandas develop their distinctive black patches as they get older.
An endangered species, giant pandas are the rarest of the bear families, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The number of giant pandas in the wild is somewhere between 1,600 and 1,900, according to the WWF's estimates. The giant pandas live primarily in the mountainous forest regions of central and western China, where they feed almost exclusively on bamboo.

On a daily basis, a giant panda must consume between 26 and 84 pounds of bamboo to sustain themselves, WWF reports.

The Giant Panda population has dwindled since the early 20th century from humans encroaching on their space, poaching, and its reproductive abilities.

A female giant panda is able to conceive only two or three days each year, according to the Associated Press.

China, where the giant panda is viewed as a national symbol, has created 40 reserves in an effort to conserve the wild panda population.

In addition, as of 2007, there were an estimated 239 giant pandas living in captivity around the world, China's state run Xinhua News Agency reports.

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Related stories:

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Giant Panda Born Last Week at Tokyo Zoo Dies

Cub Born to Giant Panda at National Zoo

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