Panda triplets celebrate 1st birthday party at Chinese zoo

Giant panda triplets play during their birthday celebration at Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou, China, on July 29, 2015.
Giant panda triplets play during their birthday celebration at Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou, China, on July 29, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS
Feeders hold giant panda triplets as they pose for pictures during their birthday celebration at Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou, China, on July 29, 2015.
Feeders hold giant panda triplets as they pose for pictures during their birthday celebration at Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou, China, on July 29, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

CHINA (REUTERS) - A set of panda triplets celebrated their first birthday at a party in a zoo in southern China. They are the world's only known surviving set of panda triplets, local media said.

Chimelong Safari Park in Guangdong province held a party and the birthday was celebrated by performances and cake.

The zoo said a panda named Juxiao gave birth to the cubs on July 29 last year. The triplets were naturally conceived at the zoo.

Docile giant pandas, native to the mountains and deep bamboo forests of south-western China, are notoriously difficult to breed and births can be difficult.

Pandas are endangered because most of their natural habitat have been destroyed for timber, farming and construction, according to conservation group the World Wildlife Fund. 

A Chinese government survey in 2014 estimated 1,864 pandas live in the wild, up 17 per cent from 2003. 

They also have an exceptionally short breeding season, with females fertile for just 24 to 36 hours a year, says a non-profit body, Pandas International.