A panda brought all the way from China delivered one of the most precious gifts to Pairi Daiza wildlife park in Belgium – a newborn cub. Cameras captured the birth on film, as well as the keepers’ tears when they saw the tiny pink cub writhing and crying.
The plight of the panda has been on the radar of conservationists and animal lovers for more than half a century. The species was at risk of extinction – in 2016, the same year the Belgian zoo had its cub, there were only 1,864 giant pandas in the world. They had lost much of their natural habitat to human impingement.
Of those 1,864 bears, 300 lived in zoos. But that type of protection didn’t automatically help the species to grow and repopulate, since pandas have always been hesitant to reproduce while in captivity.