BEIJING – A panda who was relocated after China's deadly earthquake damaged her home gave birth to twin cubs on Sunday, a state news agency said.
Guo Guo is the first panda to give birth since the 7.9-magnitude quake struck Sichuan province on May 12, killing nearly 70,000 people and leaving 5 million homeless, Xinhua News Agency reported.
One cub weighed 6 ounces, Xinhua said. Guo Guo was cuddling the other cub and staffers at the Bifengxia Giant Panda Base were not able to weigh it. The report did not give the sex of the twins.
Twelve-year-old Guo Guo was moved to the Bifengxia panda center after the quake caused heavy damages at the Wolong Nature Reserve, China's main panda breeding center where Guo Guo normally lives.
Wolong, tucked in the lush mountains of Sichuan province, was close to the epicenter of the earthquake and sustained heavy damage. One panda there was killed and another remains missing.
Most of its 63 pandas had to be moved after the quake because of the threat of landslides and other hazards.
Some were taken to the Bifengxia Giant Panda Base about 75 miles outside Sichuan's provincial capital of Chengdu. Others were taken to another breeding center in Chengdu and facilities in the Chinese capital of Beijing, the eastern province of Fujian and the southern province of Guangdong.
Phones at the Bifengxia panda center rang unanswered Sunday.
The Wolong preserve is at the heart of China's gargantuan effort to use captive breeding and artificial insemination to save the endangered giant panda, which is revered as an unofficial national mascot.
Only about 1,600 pandas live in the wild, mostly in Sichuan. An additional 180 have been bred in captivity, many of them at Wolong, and scores have been loaned or given to zoos abroad, with the revenues helping fund conservation programs.