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Endangered giant panda in southwest China reserve gives birth to twins

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In this Saturday, June 22, 2013 photo, a worker cleans a newly born younger cub of the twin panda given birth by their mother Haizi at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda at the Wolong Nature Reserve in southwest China's Sichuan province. (AP/CHINATOPIX)

A wildlife center in southwest China says a giant panda has given birth to twins.

The China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan province says they are the first pair of the endangered species born in the world this year.

It says the panda named Haizi gave birth to the two cubs 10 minutes apart on Saturday.

Staffers say one cub is a female and weighs 79.2 grams (2.79 ounces). Haizi has yet to release the other cub from her embrace.

Giant pandas have difficulty breeding, with females fertile for only two or three days a year.

Pandas number about 1,600 in the wild, where they are critically endangered due to poaching and development. More than 300 live in captivity, mostly in China's breeding programs.