She’s the world’s oldest panda mom, twice over.
Haizi, a 23-year-old panda at the Giant Panda Conservation and Research Center in China, gave birth to twin cubs on July 30.
The occurrence was something of a surprise to the bear’s handlers, who thought Haizi to be too mature to be interested in mating. But last spring, she started to show interest in another male panda, and four months later, the cubs were born.
“Generally, the maximum breeding age for giant pandas is 20 years old, and pandas older than that are not encouraged to participate in breeding,” Li Desheng, a giant panda expert at the breeding center, said in a statement. “But Haizi’s success demonstrates the advanced degree of care offered at our center — it is a breakthrough in panda breeding.”
Haizi last gave birth to cubs when she was 19 years old.