Malaysia's giant panda Liang Liang gives birth

PETALING JAYA - Malaysia has got its first baby panda.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak shared the good news on his Facebook and Twitter account on Tuesday that Liang Liang had given birth.

Najib announced: Gembira mendapat berita bahawa Liang Liang, panda di Zoo Negara, telah selamat melahirkan seekor anak pada 1.45 tengah hari tadi. (Happy to know that Liang Liang, one of the pandas in Zoo Negara, safely gave birth to a baby panda at 1.45pm today).

Giant Panda Conservation Centre (GPCC) zoology and veterinary director Dr Mat Naim Ramli confirmed the birth and said that authorities still do not know the gender of the baby.

"We can see legs and some parts of the body but Liang Liang is still protecting it," he said, adding that officials have yet to have a closer look at the baby.

On July 11, it was said that the giant panda pair of Xing Xing and Liang Liang were not able to mate for the second time after a year at their enclosure at the GPCC in Zoo Negara.

The pair from Chengdu, China, was loaned via the Giant Panda International Conservation Cooperation Agreement Programme and arrived in Malaysia on May 21 last year.

The agreement signed in 2012, gives Malaysia an opportunity to conduct panda-related conservation research, besides developing local expertise on pandas over a 10-year period.