I can’t imagine a world without panda bears, and I don’t want to. But thanks to keepers and vets at Belgium’s Zoo we have one more panda in the world. On Wednesday evening, just three months after artificially inseminating ‘Hao Hao’, The Belgium Zoo welcomed an adorable, 171-gram, male panda cub.
Panda births, in captivity and in the wild, are extremely rare so artificial insemination was the zoo's best bet at giving Hao Hao a baby to care for. However, zookeepers aren’t celebrating just yet. 1 in 2 panda cubs will not survive the first 2 weeks after birth but they are doing everything they can to make sure this one makes it. Due to Chinese superstition the cub also won't be named until several weeks into its new life.
WATCH: Hao Hao cradles and nurtures her new cub at Belgium Zoo.
With less than 2,000 pandas left in the wild, this birth is a true blessing. Habitat destruction, poaching and low birth/survival rates are among the causes for such a low population. It’s predicted in the coming century we may see the end of pandas in the wild, which is truly a sad thought.
But births in captivity like these bring optimism to the species, and hopefully pandas will be able to live on in harmony with humans for years to come.