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Zoo in China boasts world's only surviving panda triplets

There are only 1,600 pandas left in the wild, but there are now three more living in captivity.
By Brooks Hays   |   Aug. 12, 2014 at 2:47 PM
GUANGZHOU, China, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- A trio of two-week-old pandas are still alive and well at a zoo in China, which claims they are the only living giant panda triplets in the world.

The panda triplets were born on July 29 at the Chimelong wildlife park in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, a province on the South China Sea coast. Pandas are extremely ineffective breeders. To keep captive panda lineages from becoming extinguished, China invests millions in its artificial breeding program.

Wildlife officials often use the sperm of several males to inseminate females. This increases the chance of twins or triplets, but the occurrence is still exceedingly rare. It's even rarer for triplets to survive. China's state-run news agency announced the birth of the panda triplets on July 29, but breeders at Chimelong wanted to wait until it was clear all three pandas would survive.

There are only 1,600 pandas left in the wild; all of them can be found in central China's mountain forests chomping on bamboo. There are 375 pandas living in captivity -- residents at zoos and breeding centers in China and around the world.

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