Japanese panda gives birth five years after previous cub died

TOKYO: A female panda gave birth at a Tokyo zoo on Monday, zoo officials said, five years after her first cub was found dead days after it was born.

Shin Shin, Ueno Zoo's 11-year-old giant panda, began pacing her cage and showing other signs of agitation late on Saturday, prompting keepers to keep watch around the clock.

Cries from a cub were heard shortly before noon and it was seen on a monitor soon after, the zoo said. The sex of the cub has yet to be determined.

Shin Shin and her partner, Ri Ri, arrived from China in February 2011 and went on view shortly after a devastating earthquake and tsunami the next month, providing some welcome good news for the reeling nation.

The birth of a male cub the following year was the first at Ueno Zoo for 24 years and was greeted with widespread rejoicing. However, the tiny cub was found motionless on its mother's belly six days later and all efforts to revive it failed.

Panda pregnancies are impossible to confirm scientifically. Zookeepers announced that Shin Shin was possibly pregnant last month and removed her from public view soon after.