Taiwan Welcomes Panda Cub; Parents Were a Gift From China

Zoo officials tried to get the cub's mother, Yuan Yian, to mate with the zoo's male panda for the past three years.

A panda cub was born obn Saturday at the Taipei Zoo after three years of trying to get the zoo's two adult pandas to reproduce.

The cub's mother, Yuan Yuan, gave birth after three and a half hours of labor. The cub is about one-thousandth the size of its mother and healthy, the zoo said in a statement.

A photo released by the zoo showed Yuan Yuan holding the pink baby in her mouth. Pandas are usually born blind and toothless with pinkish skin that bears little resemblance to the black and white complexion of adults.

A zoo spokeswoman said Yuan Yuan had already started breast-feeding her baby. The Taipei Zoo has yet to determine the cub's sex or give it a name.

Pandas are known for their difficulty in reproducing. Females are in heat only once a year for two to three days.

For three years, zoo officials tried repeatedly to get Yuan Yuan to mate with the zoo's male panda, Tuan Tuan, whenever they thought she was in heat. They also tried artificial insemination.

The pandas were given to Taiwan by China in 2008 as a goodwill gesture.