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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Worth the wait: Exhausted panda Shin Shin cuddles her newborn baby after Japan's first birth in captivity for 24 years

•First panda born in Japan in 24 years and first ever to be conceived naturally in the country
•Prior to its birth it caused political scandal as Japanese governor suggested naming it after disputed islands both Japan and China lay claim to
•As with all giant pandas in captivity outside China the baby and its mother Shin Shin is on loan and will eventually be returned

These heartwarming pictures show seven-year-old mother Shin Shin cuddling her new-born at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo.

The people of Japan are celebrating the first baby panda born in the country in 24 years.

The birth was captured on night vision webcam and a video was quickly released by Ueno Zoo showing Shin Shin giving birth and holding the tiny baby to her chest.

Love and care: Shin Shin cuddles her newly born baby holding the cub close to her chest

The sex of the cub, born on Thursday, has not yet been determined.

It is the first panda to be born after being conceived naturally in Japanese history.

The task is extremely difficult task as female pandas are only in heat for 72 hours over the entire year and can only become pregnant during a 24 hour slot.

In the wild female pandas normally have a cub every two or three years.

The unnamed cub is too young to have gained the characteristic black marks and its size is not living up to the name of Giant Panda

The unnamed baby panda caused a stir even before it was born.

When it was announced last week that Shin Shin was pregnant Japanese governor Shintaro Ishihara suggested Shin Shin’s baby be named Sen Sen or Kaku Kaku – a wordplay on the disputed Senkaku Islands which are part of Japan but are claimed by both Taiwan and China.

He got a quick response from Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei regarding the islands, known to the Chinese as the Diaoyu.

Speaking at a press conference in the capital last Friday he said: ‘Ishihara’s scheme to undermine China-Japan relations is a clumsy performance. It will only tarnish the image of Japan and Tokyo,’

‘No matter what names the Japanese side gives, it cannot change the fact that the two pandas belong to China.

‘Likewise, what names Japan gives to the Diaoyu Island and the adjacent isles, it cannot change the fact that these islands belong to China.’

The zoo's panda team, comprised of five workers and four veterinarians, will continue using two cameras to observe the pair 24 hours a day for about a week, and have been joined by a breeding expert from Sichuan, China, where Shin Shin grew up.

Visitors to the zoo eager to see the baby will be disappointed as Ueno Zoo, which is the oldest in Japan, has expressed wishes to keep the cub and mother away from the public for another six months.

Shin Shin and her mate, Ri Ri, are on loan from China for 10 years.

Under the terms of the agreement between Japan and China, the cub will be sent back in two years.

Just the two of us: The cub is the first to be born in Japan in 24 years and will no be displayed to the public for six months

source: dailymail


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