Twin giant pandas born at China breeding center

Twin giant pandas were welcomed into the world on Tuesday at a China breeding center, which brings hope that the national’s unofficial mascot may be thriving at last.

They were conceived through artificial insemination, a popular method among breeding centers, because pandas are not typically motivated to procreate. 

The male and female cubs weighed 16.2 and 5.3 ounces at birth and are said to be doing well as they spend time with their mother and get adjusted to their new surroundings. 

The pair, one male and one female, are pink, nearly hairless and are blind - they will not open their eyes until they are at least six weeks old.

Their mother, Qin Qin, was also born at the center and previously gave birth to twin females in 2020.

China first began attempts to breed pandas in 1955, but it was not until September 9 in 1963, was Ming Ming, the first ever captive-bred giant panda, born at the Beijing zoo.

And these efforts have since paid off, as many of those born in captivity have been released into the wild.

The population of wild pandas has ticked up gradually, reaching an estimated 1,800. 

About 500 others live in captivity in zoos and reserves, the majority in the mountainous, heavily forested province of Sichuan.

In 2021, Chinese officials proudly announced the removal of giant pandas from its list of endangered species after the number living in the wild increased.