Due to benign conditions, pandas in manual raising environments have a life-span as long as 20 years---the longest age of a panda was 38 years. They usually become mature at 4 or 5, and have a reproduction period of more than 10 years. In recent years, research has been conducted and high technologies have been applied to the reproduction of the giant panda. So, the fertilization and pregrancy rate, birth rate and survival rate all have increased sharply. MeiMei in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, for example, lived 21 years (she got sick and died in 1992); in 9 pregnancies she gave birth to 10 cubs, seven of which survived. Qingqing (born in 1984), daughter of MeiMei, had given birth to 12 cubs in 8 pregancies which all survived. Creating a miracle in the history of panda breeding, MeiMei became know as the "Heroine Mother".
The chance of getting twins is bigger under artificial fertilization conditions. In 1999, five panda cubs, including two pair of twins, in three pregnancies, were born in the Panda Breeding and Research Center of Chengdu. From 1980 to 2000, the Panda Breeding and Research Center of Chengdu together with the Chengdu Zoo, have had 61 panda cubs in 40 pregnancies through artificial reproduction. 38 of the 61 cubs lived up to half a year, thus forming the biggest artificially bred panda population in the world. Now, the fourth generation of panda cubs has already been born. China (Wolong) Panda Protection and Research Center in one year once had eight cubs born in 5 pregnancies, including two pairs of twins and a triplet birth---two cubs finally survived. This was the largest number of panda births in one year.
The giant panda, if given an appropriate environment, can also show great potential of population growth.
So far, 14 zoos and institutions in the world have successful bred 226 panda cubs in 150 pregnancies, and 89 survived. Besides China, only the United States, Japan, Mexico, and Spain have bred giant pandas: 20 cubs in 15 births, and 5 survive.
Artificial Reproduction and its Achievement
The Growing Process of A Giant Panda