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In Pics: These baby pandas making their debut will brighten your day

One baby panda decided to be extra adorable and wave to the world.

world Updated: Oct 16, 2017 14:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Panda keepers at a conservation centre hold cubs to be displayed to the public in China's south-western Sichuan province.
Panda keepers at a conservation centre hold cubs to be displayed to the public in China's south-western Sichuan province.(AFP)

Thirty-six fluffy baby pandas of different ages and sizes made their debut on Friday at the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda.

At the centre’s Bifengxia Base in Sichuan Province, panda keepers held up some of the black-and-white animals, while others flopped around.

This was the first time these pandas were being displayed in front of the public, and one adorable baby panda decided to mark his debut with a friendly wave to the world.

Hi, world, how’s it going? (AFP)

China began captive breeding programmes for giant pandas in 1955 after their numbers fell to a dangerous low numbers. This year, the Conservation and Research centre successfully bred 42 panda cubs, the most pandas born in a single year.

According to Pandas International, scientists working on captive breeding of pandas realized that there were difficulties in getting the bears to mate naturally. They either lost interest in mating the natural way or simply did not know how.

Panda keepers on watch as the baby pandas play around at the Bifengxia Base of the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda in Sichuan province. (AFP)

The captive breeding programme other challenges. Only 20 per cent or so of female pandas are fertile, and the other 80 per cent have trouble forming healthy eggs, according experts. In addition, a female panda has a single estrous cycle once a year, in the spring, for 2 to 7 of those days, and she’s only actually fertile for 24 to 36 hours.

It is also very rare to find male pandas who are capable of mating naturally, so scientists have to rely on artificial insemination. Panda pregnancies are really hard to detect, and sometimes can go unnoticed despite scans, till a baby panda is actually born.

The fluffy black-and-white pandas loll about. (AFP)

Baby pandas are fragile and need a lot of care. Staff members at the breeding centres serve as surrogate mothers for the baby pandas, feeding and caring for the newborn cubs.

The last ten years, however, have been a boon for pandas, as advances in behavioural knowledge and technology have increased their survival rate.

Conservation efforts have yielded positive results. The World Wildlife Fund no longer classifies pandas as ‘endangered’, downgrading them to ‘vulnerable’ on the global list of species at risk of extinction after their population increased by 17% in a decade.

Posing for the camera: A baby panda makes its debut. (AFP)