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August 25, 2022, 02.46 PM - Two giant panda bear cubs were born at a breeding center in southwestern China on Tuesday, Aug. 23, a further sign of progress for the country’s unofficial mascot and a once-endangered animal that can be notoriously difficult to encourage to reproduce.

The male and female cubs weighed 176.4 grams and 151.2 grams respectively, or 6.2 and 5.3 ounces. State media also showed a short video of the cubs.

The Qinling Panda Research Center in Xi’an in Shaanxi province in northwestern China said that both were in good health.

The center said that the mother was a panda named Qin Qin, who gave birth to her second pair of twins. Qin Qin was born in the center, as China steps up its breeding programs in captivity to try to help rebuild panda populations in the wild.

The facility did not provide information on the father, but it has long been commonplace for captive breeding programs to try to use artificial insemination. Pandas are notoriously difficult to motivate to procreate.

Another pair of twin cubs were born at the facility earlier this month to a different mother Yong Yong.

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From endangered to vulnerable as population starts to recover

Panda breeding programs and other efforts to protect what’s become something of an unofficial mascot for China have been bearing fruit in recent decades.

In the 1980s there were as few as 1,114 pandas in China. But a 2014 survey estimated that 1,864 were living in the wild. Another roughly 500 animals are alive in captivity around the world, most of them in China.


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