Beijing, July 11: A 12-year-old giant panda, Xi Mei, has given birth to twin cubs, the first pandas to be born this year in China, experts said Wednesday.
Xinhua quoted the China Conservation and Research Centre in Wolong as saying that the staff have yet to identify the gender of one of the cubs, as its mother has yet to release it from her embrace.
The second cub is a female and weighs 154.2 grams.
Xi Mei became pregnant in March after mating with Lu Lu, a panda selected for breeding by the centre.
Born in 2000, Xi Mei previously gave birth to twin pandas in 2005 and 2006 respectively. In 2009, she gave birth to a single panda.
The giant pandas are endangered today, threatened by continued habitat loss and by a very low birthrate, both in the wild and in captivity.
They reach sexual maturity between the ages of four and eight. The mating season is between March and May and gestation period ranges from 95 to 160 days.