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Quake-hit Panda Gives Birth to Twin Cubs

Long Xin, an eight-year-old panda, gave birth to twins early on Monday, the Forestry Department of Sichuan Province said.

Long Xin, the younger sister of Yuan Yuan who will be sent to Taiwan later, was taken to Ya'an Bifengxia Gorge Panda Base from the Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Sichuan after the May 12 earthquake and stayed in Ya'an for the birth.

Long Xin was found to be pregnant on March 29 this year and began to show signs that the births were imminent on Sunday night. The cubs arrived at 2:56 AM and 4:17 AM on Monday. Long Xin gave birth to a single cub in 2005 and two sets of twins in 2006 and 2007.

On July 6, Guo Guo, another panda in the Wolong center, who was also transferred to Ya'an, gave birth to twins. Guo Guo, 12, was the first panda in the world to give birth to cubs this year.

The giant panda, found only in China, is one of the world's most endangered species. It is estimated that around 3,000 giant pandas live in the wild, mostly found in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.

(Shanghai Daily July 22, 2008)

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