Giant panda cub born at Tokyo zoo

Updated 2017-06-12 16:33:42 Xinhua

A giant panda at a zoo in central Tokyo gave birth on Monday, five years after her first cub was found dead just days after it was born.

The 11-year-old Shin Shin gave birth to her cub in the early hours of Monday morning, according to officials at the Ueno Zoological Gardens.

The zoo operator said Shin Shin had began pacing around her enclosure in a tell-tale sign she might go into labor soon on Saturday, and was showing other signs of agitation over the weekend as well.

Following this, she was put on 24-hour watch. The first cries from the baby cub were heard just before noon on Monday and the cub was seen for the first time by zoo officials on a monitor, the zoo said.

The sex of the cub has yet to be determined, said zoo officials.

Shin Shin and her mate Ri Ri were seen mating in late February and thereafter the female panda had been showing signs of pregnancy, such as a loss of appetite and lethargy, and was withdrawn from public view, the zoo said.

Through natural mating and not artificial insemination, the pair had a cub in 2012, marking the first born at the zoo in 24 years.

The birth brought widespread delight around the nation, although hearts were soon broken as the cub died from pneumonia just six days after it was born.

Shin Shin in 2013 displayed signs of being pregnant, zoo officials said, but it turned out to be a false alarm.

The latest birth has brought cheers from around the nation and beyond.

The two pandas, Shin Shin and Ri Ri, have been firm favorites at the zoo since their arrival on loan from China in February 2011.

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