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Panda Displaced by Quake Gives Birth to Twins


A 12-year-old giant Panda displaced by the massive earthquake that rocked China's Sichuan province in May has giveN birth to twins.

Chinese state media report Guo Guo is the first panda to give birth since the quake, and the first panda to give birth this year.

Officials say they were able to examine one of the cubs, and that it weighs just 170 grams.

Guo Guo gave birth at a panda facility in Ya'an City, not far from the Wolong nature reserve where she lived until the earthquake.

This is the third consecutive year that Guo Guo has given birth.

Chinese officials evacuated pandas from the Wolong reserve to safer areas around the country last month because of the danger of landslides and scarcity of food.

Officials say the Wolong reserve, which has about 150 pandas living in the wild, was severely damaged by the powerful earthquake that hit Sichuan province May 12. At least one panda in captivity died in the quake, as did five employees of the panda center.

Forestry officials estimate the earthquake destroyed or damaged more than 80 percent of the giant panda's remaining habitat, including the bamboo on which it relies for food.

A senior forestry official told a Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post that about two-thirds of the wild population is likely dead, injured or facing starvation.

Experts say most of China's endangered wild pandas, a total of only about 1,500, live in Sichuan and the northwestern provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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