What's better than a baby panda?
A panda gave birth to twins in southwest China, surprising researchers who were only expecting a single cub.
The first born was male and sex of the second born was unknown because the mother would not let it out of her grip after the Thursday birth, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Unification Through Pandas II: Panda-American Summit
(AP): U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick hears bamboo trade concerns from Qing Zai, an adult giant panda, during a trip to a conservation center in Chengdu, Sichuan, China, on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
The trip highlighted a sentimental U.S.-Chinese tie amid strains over trade, human rights and other issues.
"For more than 30 years, pandas have been a very practical symbol of the conservation relationship between the United States and China," Zoellick told reporters later, standing beside an outdoor pen as two adult pandas wrestled inside.
Zoellick cuddles a 5-month-old panda cub during a trip to a research center in Chengdu, in southwest China's Sichuan province Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2006.
A lone giant panda sits while eating in Chengdu, China. The center in Chengdu – the capital of province of Sichuan, which is the panda's natural habitat – is part of efforts to breed the rare, endangered animals in captivity. The government says a record 21 surviving panda cubs were born in captivity last year.
Beijing also has offered a panda pair to rival Taiwan in an effort to boost sentiment on the self-ruled island in favor of uniting with the communist mainland. Taiwan's government hasn't said whether it will accept the gift.
Previous attempts of pandas to broker lasting peace between China and Taiwan have been previously reported.
National Geographic: Hippo-tortoise friendship to be tested by introduction of female hippo
NYNewsday.com: Man adopts 90-year-old lobster (via Gothamist)
CNN: Strong-arm panda diplomacy (via Pandafix)
Futurefarmers: Machines powered by phototropism (pictured above; via we make money not art)
AP: Cat dials 911, saves owner's life
Reuters: Alarming rates of obesity in British cats (via Petistic)
The New York Times has run at least two stories in the past week ("The Cute Factor", "DNA Offers New Insight Concerning Cat Evolution") featuring photographs that we've run on Adorablog. Coincidence? We think so. They've also got pictures of pugs in sweaters which we have, remarkably, not posted.
Panda baby boom
Via pandafix: "A record 21 pandas survived after being born using artificial insemination in China last year, state media said, as scientists hailed the program aimed at saving the endangered species.
Tai Shan's first day outdoors
"At the tender age of five months, the National Zoo’s panda cub on Thursday ventured into the outside world for the first time.
With his mom looking on, Tai Shan took his first steps outside his indoor habitat, where he walked along the side fences and the back wall, then summoned up the courage to go to the center of the yard, where mother Mei Xiang was munching bamboo."
"Tai Shan eventually spent two hours in the morning chill, climbing on some fallen tree limbs and following his mother around. All the while, his dad, Tian Tian, was fast asleep in the outside exhibit next door, the zoo said in a statement."
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Chinastic: "The dog, named Columbo, is a mixed-breed dog and was adandoned by his former owner because of his ugly looks. Columbo was adopted by a pet store owner who happened to also be a beautician. The man painted Columbo with black dye and gave him panda-like markings. After that, Columbo became the most popular dog in the neighbourhood." (Via Petistic; more links at news.3yen.com.)