Squeaking, hairless and pink: Twin giant pandas born at Madrid Zoo

September 13, 2021 - 12:14 PM
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Twin giant panda cubs, who were born at Madrid's zoo on September 6, 2021, are seen in an incubator in this picture released in Madrid, Spain, September 7, 2021. (Madrid's Zoo/Handout via Reuters)

MADRID — Twin giant panda cubs were born at Madrid’s zoo on Monday last week in a boost to conservation efforts for the vulnerable species, whose numbers have been rebounding thanks to an international captive breeding program.

The pair, whose sex is yet to be determined, are the fifth and sixth cubs of Madrid’s female panda Hua Zui Ba and her partner Bing Xing, the zoo said.

After four hours of labor, the first cub was born around 8:30 a.m., while the second followed four hours later in what the zoo described as a “peaceful” birth.

Two technicians from China’s Chengdu panda breeding base will assist local veterinarians in checking the health of the pink, hairless newborns, who will be totally dependent on their mother for the first four months of their life.

In July, Chinese conservationists announced they no longer considered pandas to be an endangered species, upgrading their status a notch to vulnerable.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature made a similar change to its classification in 2016. —Reporting by Nathan Allen; Editing by Alex Richardson