Panda CornerGiant Panda Baby Boom! by Kimberlie Meyer
The Chengdu Panda Research and Breeding Center has experienced a mini-baby boom in late July and early August. Beginning on July 26, 2008, four baby panda’s were born at the research center in a 14 hour period. This is the first time that so many babies were born in such a short time frame. On Saturday evening, July 26, nine-year old QiYuan (“Magic Luck”) gave birth to twin female babies. Later Saturday evening, eight-year old Chenggong (“Success) gave birth to a male cub. Then early Sunday morning, July 27, 2008 ZhuZhu (“Pearl”), an eight-year old, gave birth another male cub.
On August 9, 2008, another set of twins were born to QiZhen. These twin male babies were named BeiBei and HuanHuan after two of the Beijing Olympic mascots. That creates a total of eight baby panda cubs born during July and early August!.
Giant Panda twins have been a rare occurance, but in the past year, six sets of twins have been born. Giant Pandas are an endangered species because they don’t breed often and their natural habitat is shrinking. However, with the efforts of the staffs at Chengdu Research Center and the Wolong Panda Reserve, 14 giant pandas were born during 2008. There are now estimated to be 1,590 giant pandas living in the wild in Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces, with an estimated additional 180 living in captivity in China.
On a recent visit to the Chengdu Panda Research and Breeding Center, Louie Yi, Lotus Travel’s President and Expedition Specialist, took these photos. Many of our Children’s Provincial Reunion tours have an option for stopping by the research center to see these gentle giants and to allow your child to hold one of the baby pandas being cared for at this facility.
(Giant Panda’s eating bamboo)
(Giant Panda’s resting)
Click here to see video footage of the twins.
Sources: National Geographic on-line and xinhuanet.com