Image: Yang Yang and Lun Lun
Steve Schaefer  /  AFP/Getty Images
After seven years of unsuccessful attempts, giant pandas Yang Yang (left) and Lun Lun became parents at Zoo Atlanta Wednesday.
updated 9/7/2006 8:38:06 AM ET 2006-09-07T12:38:06

After seven years of trying and hoping, Zoo Atlanta officials announced a rare giant panda birth Wednesday, one of only a few in the United States.

Lun Lun delivered her first cub just before 5 p.m., zoo spokeswoman Jennifer Waller said. The zoo planned a news conference for later in the evening.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on its Web site that indications were that the baby was healthy and being cared for by its mother.

Panda keepers will remain on watch for up to 24 hours to see if the baby panda, estimated to weigh just 4 ounces, had a twin, the newspaper said. Fifty percent of panda births result in twin cubs.

Only four giant pandas have been born and successfully raised in a U.S. zoo.

Zoo Atlanta artificially inseminated the 8-year-old Lun Lun at the end of March with semen taken from her partner, Yang Yang. They had tried for years to successfully mate the pair naturally.

A panda cub at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., born last summer was also the product of artificial insemination.

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