Panda gives birth to twins

Last updated 01:00 24/06/2013
BIG ACHIEVEMENT: Pandas are critically endangered and number only about 1,600 in the wild. This photo was taken in April and is of a giant panda in Ya'an, Sichuan province.

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A wildlife centre in southwest China says a giant panda has given birth to twins.

The China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda in Sichuan province says they are the first pair of the endangered species born in the world this year.

It says the panda named Haizi gave birth to the two cubs 10 minutes apart on Saturday. Staffers say one cub is a female and weighs 79.2 grams (2.79 ounces).

Haizi has yet to release the other cub from her embrace. 

Giant pandas have difficulty breeding, with females fertile for only two or three days a year.

Pandas number about 1,600 in the wild, where they are critically endangered due to poaching and development.

More than 300 live in captivity, mostly in China’s breeding programmes.

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- AP

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