Breaking Record: The Tiniest Giant Panda Cub Born in the World, Lighter Than an Egg, Suffers No Complications



At 9:35 a.m. on June 11, 2019, giant panda Cheng Da, living at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding started the morning by breaking her water. A few hours later, she gave birth to a female cub at 14:41 p.m., weighing 171.9g, thenanother female cub at 18:08 p.m., weighing 42.8g. This is Cheng Da’s second litter, and what’s remarkable is that the giant panda cub weighs even less than Wu Yi, which was the lightest giant panda born in the world.

Giant panda Cheng Da gave birth to her cub on June 11 that weighs even less than Wu Yi. When the cub was born, experts and breeders felt anxious and were a bit astonished that this panda only weighed 1/4 that of a normal giant panda cub and measured less than 2/3 of her elder sister in length. When the two cubs were put side by side, significant differences in body size can be observed. The base tasked the best breeding expert team to provide 24-hour feeding and monitoring for the cub. Because the cub was too small to suckle milk from her mother on her own, research personnel at the base tried to pump the milk from her mother and the cub with a bottle while monitoring her breathing, state, excrement, and other aspects. Even though the cub had stable vitals at the time, a giant panda cub this underweight can be subject to many complications. Breeding experts and veterinarians will use their rich experience accumulated in the breeding field over the years and let another miracle take place.

As of November 2018, the Chengdu Panda Base has overseen 188 giant panda litters with 284 cubs, 195 of which survived, boasting a survival rate of 98%. In addition, the lightest cub born in the world, Wu Yi, survived thanks to the base. By tackling critical technical problems, the scientific research team at the base ranks first in several aspects in the giant panda breeding field (first case of twin cubs, first case of oestrus in autumn and birth in winter, first case of mother breeding twins, the lightest giant panda cub born in the world, and many more), becoming a specialized conservation institution that boasts the cream of the crop in terms of scientific research comprehensive strength, most scientific research results, and best breeding performance in captive giant panda protection around the globe. As of now, the base has seen 2 litters with 3 cubs this year.

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Giant panda Wu Yi was born in 2006 to Qi Zhen, weighing only 51 grams, 1/3 that of a normal giant panda cub, making it the lightest giant panda born in the world. It was named Wu Yi for that reason. Thanks to the excellent care offered by breeders and its mother’s care, Wu Yi survived and grew into a healthy individual that now weights 132kg.



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