Gustavo Fernandez Duque
An Aug. 30 picture from the Zoo Aquarium de Madrid shows a giant panda mother, Hua Zui Ba, holding her newborn cub.
MADRID, Spain — A giant panda in Madrid's zoo has given birth to a healthy male, and the 1-day-old, pink-skinned cub is already proving a handful, screaming his way through his first medical checkup.
The new arrival, delivered after a natural birth in the early hours of Friday, is only the 10th specimen of the highly endangered animal in Europe, the Madrid Zoo said.
The cub — the third for a giant panda named Hua Zui Ba, whose twins born in 2010 have since been transferred to China — weighed in at a larger-than-average 7.4 ounces (210) grams and was 6 inches (15 centimeters) long.
"The team of specialists and veterinarians have confirmed it is a boy with a good set of lungs," the zoo said in a statement. "The new giant panda cub ... has shown it has a lot of character."
Visitors will be unable to see Madrid's baby panda, which has not yet been named, for several months. Its panda mother was now unlikely to give birth to a second cub, the zoo said. Female pandas can often have two offspring at a time.
Like Madrid's newest cub, most pandas bred in captivity are conceived through artificial insemination. Reproduction is difficult, as females are only able to conceive for about two or three days in the spring.
There are roughly 300 giant pandas in captivity throughout the world, and fewer than 1,600 living in the wild, in a few mountain ranges in central China.
Britain is also gripped with "baby fever" over the possible birth of a panda at Scotland's Edinburgh Zoo, expected within weeks.
Only 10 giant pandas now live in captivity in Europe, including in Edinburgh and Beauval in France. Vienna Zoo's giant panda female gave birth to a cub in mid-August. In the United States, pandas were recently born at zoos in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., while Taipei's zoo has had a recent panda arrival as well.
First published August 31 2013, 12:42 PM