The giant panda Hao Hao on Wednesday night gave birth to a baby in the Belgian zoo Pairi Daiza, announced the zoo together with the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda.
News of the birth made headlines around the world, as the giant panda is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. With fewer than 2,000 pandas living in the wild worldwide, every birth is crucial for the preservation of the species.
Until now, only two European countries have succeeded, with the help of China, in their efforts to further the reproduction of the species: Austria and Spain. Belgium is now the third European country to welcome a baby panda.
The 171-gram panda was conceived via double artificial insemination performed with the sperm of Xing Hui, the second panda at Pairi Daiza. The delicate process was overseen by a Chinese veterinarian and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Ghent.
Although Hao Hao showed the first signs of pregnancy in May, it was still uncertain whether there was a baby coming.