In what keepers at the Pairi Daiza wildlife park outside Brussels are calling a “true miracle,” giant panda Hao Hao gave birth to a healthy baby boy last week.
The cub, weighing in at approximately 6 oz., was born on Thursday and hasn’t received a name yet. According to the BBC, the Belgian zoo confirmed 6-year-old Hao Hao’s pregnancy a couple weeks ago, several months after the panda was artificially inseminated with her mate Xing Hui’s sperm. Both the animals are on loan to the zoo from China.
With only 1,864 pandas left in the world, and 300 in zoos, the cub’s arrival is an important step towards protecting the species. After getting through the difficulty of conception and pregnancy, the zoo is cautiously optimistic about the future of the newborn, who is doing “exceptionally well.”
Mother and son are getting along great, with Hao Hao carrying the squeaking, pink jellybean in her mouth to keep him clean and protected.
The zoo will be allowed to keep the cub for four years based on its agreement with China. This is the sixth panda birth in Europe over the past 20 years.