Jiao Zi gave bith to triplets at the Chengdu Panda Base on August 19, 2013.
The 18-year-old who panda almost died after her labor. Only one female cub was born alive.
Jiao Zi went into heat and she mated twice on April 25.
“On July 29, she started eating less and her weight dropped to 85 kilograms from 112 kilograms because she had conceived,” said Wu Kongju, one of her keepers.
At 7:45 pm on Aug 18, Jiaozi’s water broke. At 3:50 pm the next day, the back limbs of a panda cub emerged from the birth canal.
“They looked purple-black as the cub had died. Because the dead cub could not leave the birth canal, Jiao Zi had to bite the back of the dead body in order to pull it out. She is a good mother who knew she had to make way for her other two cubs,” Wu said. The sex of the first cub was undetermined.
Thirty minutes later, Jiao Zi gave birth to a female cub that weighed 96 grams, much less than the normal weight of 140 grams for a newborn cub. At 4 am on August 21, a male cub that weighed 129 grams was stillborn.
After the arduous birth process, Jiao Zi ran a fever and would neither eat nor drink. Her life was at riskand Jiao Zi was anesthetized to examine her. They found she was suffering from anemia.
“As her veins had collapsed, we had to shave her limbs so we could find veins to inject medicine.
“She is now recovering and weighs 90 kilograms,” Wu said.
Because of her illness, Jiao Zi cannot take care of her surviving cub. Qing He, a 12-year-old panda who gave birth on August 14 nurses Jiao Zi’s cub every day.
According to Hou Rong, it is only the third time that a captive panda conceived three cubs.
“In 1967, a 9-year-old panda at Shanghai Zoo gave birth to three cubs. All the triplets died. In 1999, a 16-year-old panda at Wolong Nature Reserve (in Wenchuan county, Sichuan) gave birth to triplets but only one survived,” she said.
Jiao Zi’s seven-year-old daughter, Da Jiao, gave birth to twins on August 6, 2013. The twins were named Qian Qian and Nan Nan. Da Jiao is a first time mother and she takes very good care of her cubs.