By Helen Lawson
This video captures the crucial moment where a giant panda safely delivers her fourth child in the early hours of this morning at a Chinese breeding base.
Yuan Yuan is shown being observed in her cage by staff at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base in Sichuan Province before standing on all fours to deliver her cub.
As the cub drops to the floor, its loving mother turns to lick her newborn's pink fur and picks it up in her mouth before turning away from onlookers for some private bonding time.
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Staff at the centre took the newborn panda to an incubator to carry out some health checks
The cub's head can be seen as Yuan Yuan delivers her fourth baby
Thrilled staff at the breeding centre look on as mother and baby share a cuddle, before wrapping the cub in a blanket to take to an incubator for an examination.
Baby pandas are born blind and toothless, and the newborn is seen to be quite the wriggler as it adjusts to life outside the comfort of the womb.
The gender of the cub, born at 5.11am, will not be known for another two months and it will develop its distinctive fur colouring in roughly a month's time.
Yuan Yuan is shown before observed by staff before the cub's birth
As labour reaches its climax, Yuan Yuan stands up on all fours for the final push
The baby panda is Yuan Yuan's fourth child - her last pregnancy resulted in a set of twins in 2010.
Staff at the centre will be especially pleased with this latest birth as the cub was conceived naturally - encouraging news for scientists working to boost the numbers of the giant panda, an endangered species.
The newborn wriggles around its incubator as staff try to keep it still so they can perform some checks
Sunday, August 26, 2012
By Helen Lawson