Double Happiness as Panda Gives Birth to Twins

July 5, 2005 Updated: July 5, 2005

BEIJING – A giant panda at a Chinese reserve has given birth to twins and mother and offspring are doing well, the China Daily said on Wednesday.

Pandas normally only rear one cub at a time and Ying Ying, who lived in the Wolong panda reserve in southwest Sichuan province, had chosen one of her new babies to care for, the paper said without specifying the twins&#039 sex.

Park staff would raise the other and return it to its mother later, the report said.

“This marks the beginning of the year&#039s breeding season for China&#039s captive giant pandas,” Cao Qingyao, a State Forestry Administration spokesperson, was quoted as saying.

A picture showed a park staff member petting one of the tiny newborn cubs, its eyes still sealed shut and thin white fur covering its pink skin.

The Wolong reserve is one of the few places in the world that has had consistent success expanding its population of pandas, which are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity.

More than 70 panda cubs had been born at the reserve, 61 of which had survived, the newspaper said.

The giant panda is one of the world&#039s most endangered species, with fewer than 1,600 living in the wild in western China.