panda triplets, panda babies, pandas, baby animals, China, Chimelong safari park

Newborn giant panda triplets, which were born to giant panda Juxiao (not pictured), are seen inside an incubator at the Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou, Guangdong province August 9, 2014. Picture taken August 9, 2014. Photo (c) REUTERS/China Daily via MSN

China announced this Tuesday that an extremely rare set of panda triplets was born in the southern city of Guangzhou. The mother, Ju Xiao, and the three as-yet-unnamed cubs are healthy, the China news agency reported. The triplets weigh between 8 and 12 ounces or about half a pound! This is only the fourth set of giant panda triplets born with the help of China’s artificial breeding program, making it an extremely rare occurrence.

A set of panda twins is considered a miracle in China due to the low reproduction rates of giant pandas. The giant panda is only fertile between 24 and 36 hours per year making the window for conception very narrow.  Ju Xiao was impregnated in March with sperm from a panda living at a Guangzhou zoo. The three cubs were born July 29, but breeders delayed an announcement until they were sure all three would survive, the official China News Service said.

There are about 1,600 giant pandas living in the wild, where the species is critically endangered due to loss of habitat and low birth rates. More than 300 live in captivity, mostly in China’s breeding programs.

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