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Japan zoo's panda cub judged male at birth turns out to be female

A panda cub who has turned out to be a female is seen at Adventure World in the town of Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture, on Dec. 20, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the zoo)

WAKAYAMA -- A panda cub previously named as male has turned out to be a female, a western Japan zoo announced on Dec. 22.

    According to Adventure World in the town of Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture, the cub born Nov. 22 was deemed male just after birth because the distance between its anus and urinary meatus was found to be longer than is conventionally found on females. On Dec. 21, palpation revealed no testicles, thereby confirming the cub as female. In 2005, the same facility announced the birth of a female cub which later turned out to be male.

    Rauhin holds her newborn cub at Adventure World in the town of Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture, on Dec. 20, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the zoo)

    Adventure World's Deputy Director Tatsuko Nakao said, "Pandas are born with undeveloped reproductive organs so it's difficult to distinguish them. The way we rear them is the same for both males and females."

    The panda cub weighed 157 grams at birth and came in at 1,009 grams a month later on Dec. 22, by which time its body's black and white pattern had started becoming visible. Its public display, which was originally scheduled for the end of the year, will take place sometime after mid-January 2021 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

    (Japanese original by Yukihiro Takeuchi, Tanabe Local Bureau)

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