The newborn panda triplets inside an incubator at a safari park in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou
The newborn panda triplets inside an incubator at a safari park in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou

See the world's first surviving panda triplets

A ZOO in China has announced the birth of three cubs to a single giant panda mother - thought to be the world's first ever surviving panda triplets.

Chinese state media reported that the cubs were born on 29 July in the city of Guangzhou, but that breeders waited to unveil them until they were confident all three would live.

A statement from the zoo said that their mother, Xi Xiao, had initially been too exhausted after the birth to look after her cubs, but that all four were now health and doing well.

Photos showed the three cubs sleeping and standing alongside one another in an incubator. They were born within four hours of each other and currently weigh between 230 grams (8 ounces) and 333 grams (12 ounces).

The zoo, Guangzhou's Chimelong Safari Park, described the trio as "a new wonder of the world", and said that they were currently "the only panda triplets that have ever survived", the BBC reported.

The newborn panda triplets inside an incubator at a safari park in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou
The newborn panda triplets inside an incubator at a safari park in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou

The as-yet-unnamed cubs are thought to be only the fourth set of panda triplets ever born through artificial breeding programmes, and the mortality rate among young pandas is extremely high.

Experts tend to only officially class pandas as having "survived" once they have reached the age of six months.

China has devoted huge resources to keeping the panda population going, and regularly announces births at the Wolong breeding centre in Sichuan province, where most of the remaining wild pandas are found.

There are only about 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild, where habitat loss and low birth rates mean the species is critically endangered. China has more than 300 live pandas in captivity across its zoos and breeding centres.


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