Giant Panda research centre welcomes 14 new arrivals

Breeders take care of giant panda cubs inside a crib at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding Credit: REUTERS/China Daily

As Britain eagerly awaits news from Edinburgh Zoo of our first potential Panda pregnancy, China is experiencing an embarrassment of riches.

A total of 14 panda cubs have been born since July at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Sichuan province.

Panda cubs are especially susceptible to disease in their first ten days and all 14 are being hand reared in the facility's two delivery rooms.

The Chengdu centre has artificially bred 17 panda cubs so far this year. The other three are in the United States and Spain.

All of the cubs were born within the space of 40 days, but already its eldest member, Meng Meng, is four times heavier than the youngest, Ya Yi.

Giant Pandas are one of the world's endangered animals with roughly 300 giant pandas in captivity throughout the world, and fewer than 1,600 living in the wild in China.

The 14 panda cubs settling in to their new surroundings Credit: REUTERS/China Daily

Edinburgh Zoo announced on Monday that its Giant Panda, Tian Tian, is still showing signs of pregnancy and that the panda enclosure has been closed to give her more privacy.

Tian Tian has been keeping the experts guessing for almost a month now but this week is likely to provide an answer as the normal panda birthing season has already closed.