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World's first surviving panda triplets are 'very healthy'

By Wilfred Chan, CNN
August 13, 2014 -- Updated 1451 GMT (2251 HKT)
Panda cub Bao Bao plays in the Smithsonian National Zoological Park on January 6, 2014 in Washington, DC. Panda cub Bao Bao plays in the Smithsonian National Zoological Park on January 6, 2014 in Washington, DC.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Panda triplets were born on July 29 in Guangzhou, China
  • Babies are "very healthy," says park manager
  • They are thought to be the only living panda triplets in the world

(CNN) -- Very few pandas are born each year, but even fewer of the fragile cubs stay alive.

That's why zookeepers say it's a "miracle" after a panda gave birth to a healthy set of triplets, who have now survived over two weeks and are reportedly doing well.

The cubs, which weighed 83 grams, 90 grams, and 122 grams, respectively, at birth, are thought to be the only living panda triplets in the world.

See the world's cutest panda triplets
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The 12-year-old mother, Juxiao (whose name means "chrysanthemum smile") gave birth to the adorable cubs on July 29 in China's Chimelong Safari Park in the southern city of Guangzhou. The delivery took four hours, said Dong Guixin, the manager of the park.

"After nearly half a month under the care of the mother, the babies are very healthy," China Daily reported Dong as saying.

"They now weigh nearly two times what they did when they were born... It was a miracle for us and the births exceeded our expectations."

The new trio are now with their mother and are being cared for by a team of feeders, he said.

Pandas are known for having very low survival rates. According to the Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding, only one-third to one-half of pandas born in Chinese captivity manage to survive past infancy.

In 1999, another set of giant panda triplets was born in China, but one died after three days.

In the next few weeks, another little panda could enter the world: Tian Tian, a panda living in Scotland's Edinburgh Zoo, is suspected to be pregnant and may give birth before the end of August.

Thanks to science, there are more baby pandas

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