Rare 'miracle' triplet pandas born at China zoo - Tucson News Now

Rare 'miracle' triplet pandas born at China zoo

Pink, cute and mostly hairless, rare triplet pandas were born in a China zoo - a rarity for the endangered species. (Source: CCTV/CNN) Pink, cute and mostly hairless, rare triplet pandas were born in a China zoo - a rarity for the endangered species. (Source: CCTV/CNN)
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GUANGZHOU, GUANGDONG, CHINA (RNN) – If you think one baby panda is cute, check out the latest edition to a south China zoo – rare triplet pandas.

The trio was born at the Chimelong Safari Park to 12-year-old panda named Ju Xiao on June 29 after she was artificially inseminated in April.

They are the first triplets to be born from artificial insemination since the country began its artificial panda breeding program in the 1960s, according to the South China Morning Post.

The China News Service heralds the panda births as "a new breakthrough in China's artificial breeding" of the endangered panda. But their lives are not certain - the Associated Press says 26 percent of males and 20 percent of female pandas live past their first birthday. 

Zhang Hemin of the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas told the China News Service that previously artificially inseminated pandas have not survived. Several cases include triplet pregnancies.

"None of the triplets born in the 1970s survived. Of the triplets born at the center in 1998, two survived. A third set of panda triplets were born last year but only one of them survived," Hemin said.

So far, the panda cubs are unnamed and the sexes have not been revealed. The trio, born four hours apart, are reportedly all healthy and weigh between 8 to 12 ounces. All three panda cubs are expected to survive.

China is the main habitat for pandas living in the wild; the rarest of the bear species feeds off the “temperate broadleaf and mixed forests of Southwest China,” mainly, the Yangtze Basin region of China, according to the World Wildlife Federation.

Pandas have been listed as an endangered species by the WWF, and there are approximately 1,600 living in the wild.

Approximately 600 pandas live in captivity globally, primarily in zoos and China's breeding programs, according to the Associated Press.

Follow me on Twitter @TanitaG_RNN.

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