Panda cub spends first night with mom

2013-08-15 08:29
Female giant panda named "Yuan Yuan" holds her female cub at the Taipei Zoo in Taipei, Taiwan. (Taipei Zoo, AP)

Female giant panda named "Yuan Yuan" holds her female cub at the Taipei Zoo in Taipei, Taiwan. (Taipei Zoo, AP)

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Taipei - Taiwan's first new-born panda stayed overnight for the first time with her doting mother, zoo-keepers said on Thursday, following a reunion that took place in the international limelight.

Zoo-keepers in Taipei had to separate tiny Yuan Zai from her mother, Yuan Yuan, in July because the cub needed care and round-the-clock monitoring in an incubator after she was slightly hurt days after being born.

The first-time mother accidentally injured the cub's leg, zoo-keepers said.

The weeks-old female cub was put inside Yuan Yuan's enclosure on Tuesday where the mother gently picked her up, embraced and breastfed her in a touching scene of animal affection.

Encouraged by the smooth development, keepers decided to let the mother herself take care of the cub overnight - from late Wednesday night until early Thursday morning.

Public viewing

"We hope they can gradually get used to each other," a spokesperson for the Taipei city zoo told reporters.

"It seemed that everything was fine."

The cub, the first panda born in Taiwan, was delivered on 7 July following a series of artificial insemination sessions after her parents - Yuan Yuan and her partner Tuan Tuan - failed to conceive naturally.

The birth of Yuan Zai, which means "child of Yuan Yuan", sparked great joy in Taiwan with local media carrying daily reports and photos on her growth.

The public will have to wait for at least another two months to see her.

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan were given to Taiwan by China in December 2008 and have become star attractions at Taipei Zoo as well as a symbol of the fast improving ties between Taiwan and its former bitter rival China.

Taiwan will be allowed to keep the cub because the panda couple were a gift from China rather than a loan, Taipei officials have said.
Read more on:    animals

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