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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Panda-ring to the camera: Mother bear shows off her one-month-old twins


Twins: Zhen Zhen and Qiao Qiao have just turned a month old after being born at the Chengdu Giant Panda Research and Breeding Base in Sichuan Province, China

Sitting side by side as they start to take in the big world around them, these two one-month old panda cubs are proudly shown off by their mother.

Twin cubs Zhen Zhen and Qiao Qiao have developed trademark black and white panda colouring and are growing up fast at Chengdu Giant Panda Research and Breeding Base in Sichuan Province, China.

The adorable pair are the fourth pair of twins born to mother Qi Zhen.

They were part of a traditional Chinese celebration after turning one month old this week.

In August 2006 Qi Zhen gave birth to two pairs of twins.

Mummy bear: Qi Zhen gets to grips with one of her cubs. This is her fourth set of twins

Experts had to introduce her to male pandas in a controlled environment, and also helped her become pregnant through artificial insemination on a separate occasion.

The Chengdu Panda reserve has been phenomenally successful at breeding pandas in captivity. The task is extremely difficult as female pandas are only in heat for 72 hours over the entire year and can only become pregnant during a 24 hour slot.

Pandas often have twins but one will usually die in the wild.

Scientists have managed to mimic the warmth of a mother panda so precisely that they can swap the panda babies over, giving each youngster time with their mother and raising two successfully instead of one.

China never sell their bears but instead will loan them to foreign breeding programmes for an eye-watering $1million a year.

A total of 30 pandas (out of China's 317 in captivity) were living abroad last year.

source: dailymail


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