Giant panda Yuan Yuan (圓圓) on Sunday gave birth to her second cub after years of artificial insemination efforts, Taipei Zoo said yesterday.
The female cub, which weighed 186g at birth, is being kept in an incubator, the zoo said.
It is the second cub born to Yuan Yuan and Tuan Tuan (團團), two giant pandas gifted to Taiwan by China in 2008. Their first cub, Yuan Zai (圓仔), also a female, was born in 2013.
Photo: EPA-EFE / Taipei Zoo
The two cubs were produced by artificial insemination, as attempts to have Yuan Yuan and Tuan Tuan mate have been unsuccessful, the zoo said.
The zoo had been artificially inseminating Yuan Yuan each breeding season since Yuan Zai was born, but the efforts proved unsuccessful until February, Taipei Zoo spokesman Eric Tsao (曹先紹) said.
It is incredibly difficult to tell if a panda is pregnant, as “phantom pregnancies” often occur, Tsao said.
The indicators in a pseudo-pregnant panda, including loss of appetite and higher hormone levels, can be the same as in a pregnant one, Tsao said.
In pandas, the implantation of a fertilized egg can also take place long after the breeding season ends, so the zoo has to closely monitor them after artificial insemination, he said.
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