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Giant panda born in Tokyo zoo, survival uncertain

12 Juin 2017

The 11-year-old female named Shin Shin, which resides at the Ueno Zoological Gardens, delivered its cub Monday morning.

A female panda gave birth at a Tokyo zoo today, zoo officials said, five years after her first cub was found dead just days after it was born.

Shin Shin was seen mating with a panda named Ri Ri on February 27 and had been showing signs of pregnancy, including loss of appetite and increased lethargy, from around May 16, prompting the zoo to take her from public view. However, the tiny cub was found motionless on its mother's belly six days later and all efforts to revive it failed.

In subsequent weeks, Shin Shin developed a weaker appetite, which can be a sign of pregnancy although not always.

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The panda pair mated three times in late February but a zoo official had initially been concerned that signs of pregnancy could have been false since phantom pregnancies are commonly observed in giant pandas.

A urine test had also indicated the panda was pregnant, the zoo said. They are on a 10-year loan for $1m a year.

"We are very happy about the birth of a panda cub, which we have been waiting for", Tokyo Govornor Yuriko Koike said in a statement.

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. "I would like to offer my congratulations with everyone else".

Giant panda born in Tokyo zoo, survival uncertain