Conservationists are celebrating a win after a giant panda successfully gave birth to twins at the Zoo Aquarium Madrid on September 6, 2021.
The birth came after years of efforts were made to reestablish giant panda populations through wild conservation efforts and captive breeding programs.
The zoo shared the news in a press release and released video footage of the birth and the tiny twins.
The hairless, pink panda babies were welcomed into the world in good health, demonstrating their healthy lungs with plenty of squealing and screaming.
In the press release, they explained that the babies’ mom, Hua Zui Ba, began contractions around 4:00 AM in the morning. By 8:30 AM, she birthed the first baby and the second followed around noon. She acted as a good mother, and carefully cleaned her cubs and began to care for them.
The news of twins wasn’t terribly surprising considering half of all panda births feature twins, but usually just one cub survives in the wild. However, both of these cubs are expected to survive thanks to the care and diligence of the zoo staff.
What does make this birth so special is the fact that giant pandas are notoriously hard to breed in captivity, but having live births is a critical element in strengthening their dwindling populations.
Zoos have tried everything from playing porn and encouraging mating behavior to attempting artificial insemination. Even so, most are unsuccessful at getting a fertilized embryo to implant.
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Thankfully, Zoo Aquarium Madrid had success and is now looking after the two, tiny pink cubs. In the wild, cubs are completely dependent on their mothers for the first four months of life. According to a 2019 study, researchers discovered that newborn pandas are immature compared to other mammals at birth, which lends to their tiny appearance and dependence on their mother.
Perhaps giant pandas are so hesitant to breed because it’s a lot of work to care for such delicate offspring for months!
See the newborn cubs in the video below:
Hopefully we’ll see more good news relating to the species in the coming years.Whizzco