Giant panda cub born in Vienna after zoo sets the right mood

A naturally conceived giant panda cub has been born in a zoo in Vienna - it's currently so small that zookeepers have been unable to determine its gender.
Giant panda Yang Yang cuddling its newborn cub at the Schoenbrunn Zoo in Vienna.
Giant panda Yang Yang cuddling its newborn cub at the Schoenbrunn Zoo in Vienna.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK

VIENNA (REUTERS) - A naturally conceived giant panda cub has been born in Vienna, the city's main zoo announced on Monday (Aug 8), a rare event that it said is unique in Europe to the Austrian capital.

Getting the shy, bamboo-eating mammals to mate is a famously difficult task, so much so that breeding centres usually turn to artificial insemination instead.

"As far as giant pandas are concerned, Vienna is obviously fertile ground," the city's Schoenbrunn Zoo, set in the landscaped gardens of a former imperial summer residence, said in a statement.

Pictures and video footage released by the zoo showed the tiny pink newborn clinging to its mother Yang Yang, who has given birth to three other naturally conceived cubs before, all of which are now in China.

The latest arrival, born on Sunday at 5.05am local time (11.05am Singapore time), is just 10cm long and weighs 100g, so small that zookeepers have been unable to determine its gender.

"Yang Yang is an experienced mother and is taking great care of her offspring," said zoo director Dagmar Schratter."But one must bear in mind that the mortality rate of giant pandas within their first year is roughly 40 per cent."

The zoo said its panda area would remain closed for the time being to ensure that Yang Yang and her cub are not disturbed.