Welcome to the world! Heart-warming pictures show giant panda tenderly washing newborn cub

By Mail Foreign Service

Come to mum! Ju Xiao gingerly picks the cub up in her mouth and carries it to safety

These heart-warming pictures show a giant panda nurturing her newborn cub at a reserve in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The eight-year-old panda tenderly licks the cub clean and carries it to safety in her mouth.

First-time mother Ju Xiao gave birth to twins at the Bifengxia base in Ya'an, but only nursed the first cub, according to a Malaysian news agency.

Protective: The giant panda gave birth to twins, but only nurtured the first cub, of which she immediately became fiercely protective, not letting people near it

Pandas rarely give birth to twins and mothers often only take the first cub as their own.

When the second cub was ignored, it was immediately sent to a panda nursery, said Tang Chunxiang, deputy chief of the giant panda protection and research centre in Wolong, which oversees the Ya'an reserve.

The second cub, which was male, weighed a meagre 135 grammes.

The gender of the first cub was not immediately known as Ju Xiao's motherly instincts immediately kicked in and she stopped people from approaching it, said Tang.

Giant pandas are among the world's most endangered species. Statistics from the State Forestry Administration show some 1,590 pandas live in the wild, mostly in the mountains of Sichuan, and more than 210 live in captivity.

source: dailymail