France Sees First-Ever Panda Birth, Death

Only one of Huan Huan's twins survived
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 5, 2017 7:58 AM CDT
In France, a Panda Is Born, a Panda Dies for First Time
In this photo dated Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, provided by Beauval zoo, a veterinarian holds a cub born to the panda Huan Huan at the Zoo Parc de Beauval in Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, central France.   (Zoo Parc de Beauval via AP)

Chinese giant panda experts and French zookeepers are working to ensure a panda cub's survival after its twin died during the first-ever birth of the rare animal in France. Images released Saturday by the Beauval Zoo south of Paris show mother Huan Huan enveloping the cub and zoo handlers feeding it in an incubator with a small bottle. The pink, hairless male weighing 5 ounces is tiny compared to its 190-pound mother. She bore twins Friday, but the firstborn was too weak to survive.

Reuters has this statement from the zoo: "The first baby came quickly and Huan Huan held it against her and licked it clean. The second followed 14 minutes later. Huan Huan abandoned the first and looked after the second." Xinhua reports this is the natural behavior: Female pandas living in the wild opt to raise the cub that has the best chance of survival. Huan Huan and partner Yuan Zi are on a 10-year loan from China. Panda births are closely watched because they remain rare—there are only about 1,800 pandas in the wild in China and about 400 in captivity worldwide, reports the AP. Reuters reports Huan Huan and Yuan Zi's offspring will be sent to China once they reach the age of two or three. (Read more panda stories.)

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