|Giant panda Yuanyuan and its baby. (Photo/Xinhua)|
TAIPEI, July 6 (Xinhua) -- The first cub of a pair of giant pandas given as a goodwill gift to Taiwan by the Chinese mainland was born at 8:05 p.m. Saturday in the Taipei Zoo, the zoo said.
The newborn cub weighs only about one thousandth of its mother Yuan Yuan, and its gender has yet been identified as the mother has kept it around her since its birth, said Lin Huei-jhen, a spokeswoman of the zoo.
According to the zoo, Yuan Yuan, which is nearly nine years old, received artificially inseminations from Tuan Tuan, the male panda, from March 17 to 19.
Since June 12, Yuan Yuan has shown signs of pregnancy including taking less food, unwilling to make public appearance and refusing ultrasound examination.
At the end of June, panda breeding experts from the Chinese mainland decided that Yuan Yuan was close to the time of giving birth as she started nesting and cunnilingus.
Lin said almost all panda-care workers would stay overnight on Saturday to keep close eye on the panda cub. "It is our first time to witness the birth of a panda cub, and we're not experienced," she said.
In 2008, the mainland sent Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan to Taiwan as a goodwill gift. The combination of their names means "reunion" in Chinese.
Since their arrival at the island, people across the Taiwan Strait shared the common expectation for the two pandas to have the next generation.
However, most giant pandas are not good breeders when in captivity, and pandas are known for being sexually inactive.
In Feb. 9, 2011, Yuan Yuan received the first artificially insemination and two days later, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan had natural mating, but Yuan Yuan failed to conceive a baby.
According to the mainland's Taiwan affair authorities, the new-born panda will be kept in Taiwan.
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