Hao Hao shows off her baby

Gently and tenderly, giant panda Hao Hao holds her newborn cub in her mouth at the Pairi Daiza zoo in Brugelette, Belgium.

The male cub was born on Thursday to six-year-old Hao Hao following artificial insemination from her mate Xing Hui, supervised by Chinese and local experts.

It was a rare event for an endangered species that numbers barely 2,000 worldwide, as giant pandas are notoriously reluctant to mate in captivity.

Wildlife park director Eric Domb announced at a news conference that "everything went exceptionally well". Hairless, blind and weighing just 171g, the yet-to-be-named cub gave a loud cry before being scooped up in his mother's mouth.

Reuters reported the park's zoological director, Mr Tim Bouts, as saying: "Hao Hao, who is a first-time mother, was amazing."

Mother and baby are doing well, but Mr Bouts said the cub, which he described as "a little pink sausage", is still in a risky period, as with any newborn panda.

Belgium is reportedly only the third country in Europe where a panda baby has been born.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2016, with the headline 'Hao Hao shows off her baby'. Print Edition | Subscribe