CHENGDU, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- A giant panda that was rescued in the wild in 2013, delivered twins in southwest China's Sichuan Province Thursday.
The mother panda, Qiao Qiao, gave birth to the twin cubs at the Bifengxia breeding base of the China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center.
As it was her first delivery, Qiao Qiao became emotional and distressed, said Luo Bo, an official at the base. The labor lasted six hours.
After giving birth to the first cub, Qiao Qiao the panda held it in her mouth and nursed it. Employees took the second cub away as part of an artificial breeding program. Though the second cub is male and weighed 180.7 grams, the sex of the first cub has yet to be determined.
Locals found Qiao Qiao having difficulty walking at a scenic spot in Sichuan in April 2013, and she was sent to the center to receive treatment.
As Qiao Qiao is a wild panda, the twins will greatly contribute to the genetic diversity of the species in the protection center, said Luo.
This year, 10 giant pandas in the center gave birth to a total of 15 cubs, with 13 surviving.
At the end of 2015, China had 1,864 giant pandas living in the wild and a further 422 in captivity, according to the State Forestry Administration. Forty-three cubs were born in captivity last year, with 40 surviving, including 14 sets of twins.