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Rare panda baby born in Vienna Zoo

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Rare panda baby born in Vienna Zoo
Photo: Tiergarten Schönbrunn
11:33 CEST+02:00
A newborn panda has become the latest addition to Vienna Zoo after the mother successfully gave birth in captivity.

The ten-centimetre-long baby panda was born around 5am on Sunday morning and was captured on camera being licked clean and cradled by the mother. 

Weighing just 100 grams, the newborn has not yet developed the distinctive black and white fur and is pink in colour. It is the fourth panda to be born at the Tiergarten Schönbrunn (Schönbrunn Zoo), following Fu Long in 2007, Fu Hu in 2010 and Fu Bao in 2013.

Keepers say the latest addition to the family was probably conceived in March, when the mother Yang Yang and father Long Hui were spotted mating enthusiastically on several occasions.

Pandas mating in captivity is an extremely rare event and at the time the zoo described the moment between Yang Yang and Long Hui as “sensational”.  

Often pandas can only be bred by zoos using artificial insemination, which makes this latest newborn - conceived naturally - a special and rare case.

The zoo says they are constantly monitoring the mother and baby but have so far been unable to identify the sex of the newborn.

“Because the newborn is tiny and the mother is intensively warming it, it can rarely be seen on camera and we cannot yet identify the sex,” said zoo director Dagmar Schratter.

The panda enclosure will remain closed for the time being to allow Yang Yang to care and bond with her baby in peace.

The giant panda is one of the world's most endangered species, with only 1,864 living in southern China. However, experts say the population has grown by 16.8% since the last population survey was taken in 2003.

With the giant pandas being on long-term loan to the zoo from China, the newborn does not belong to the institution and - like the other panda babies - is likely to be sent back to China when it is older. 

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