Image: Panda cubs
China Photos  /  Getty Images file
A worker feeds a giant panda cub at the China Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center on Oct. 19. Sixteen giant pandas were born at the center last year.
updated 1/3/2006 11:39:23 AM ET 2006-01-03T16:39:23

A record 21 surviving baby pandas were born in China's zoos and breeding centers in 2005, state media said Monday.

Sixteen pandas were born at the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan, the rare animal's biggest natural habitat, the China Daily newspaper said.

The rest were born in research centers in the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu, in Luoguantai in the northwestern Chinese province of Shaanxi, and at the Beijing Zoo.

"Despite the early deaths of a few baby pandas, 2005 has witnessed the largest number of surviving newborn pandas in China's history of artificial fertilization on the rare species," Na Chunfeng, an official with State Forestry Administration, was quoted as saying.

The previous record was set in 2003, when 15 babies born in captivity survived.

China has 183 pandas living in captivity, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. It said another 24 live in nine zoos in the United States, Japan, Germany, Austria and Thailand.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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