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Shin Shin's Baby Is First Panda Born At Tokyo Zoo In 24 Years

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SHIN SHIN PANDA
In this Wednesday, June 27, 2012 file photo, seven-year-old female giant panda Shin Shin eats lunch at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. The zoo said a panda was born Thursday, July 5, 2012 to Shin Shin, brought to Japan from China just before the March 11, 2011 devastating earthquake and tsunami. The gender of the baby panda was not immediately known. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File) | AP

TOKYO (AP) — A panda has been born at a Tokyo zoo for the first time in 24 years.

Tokyo's popular Ueno Zoo says the panda was born Thursday to Shin Shin. The 7-year-old mother was brought to Japan from China just before Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami last year.

The baby's gender was not immediately known. Zoo officials say the pair appear to be in good health but will be monitored around the clock.

It was the first panda born at the zoo since 1988 and was conceived naturally.

Giant pandas have a low birth rate and artificial insemination has been common in captive breeding programs.

The birth of Shin Shin's baby was much anticipated in Japan, and the news was flashed on major television networks Thursday.

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