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Rare Giant Panda Cub Born At Tokyo Zoo

It's the zoo's first panda birth in five years.

13/06/2017 1:58 PM AEST | Updated 13/06/2017 2:00 PM AEST

The first giant panda cub in five years was born at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo on Monday.

The mother of the cub, 11-year-old Shin Shin, last gave birth to a baby panda in 2012. Tragically though, the little cub died just six days after birth from pneumonia.

According to the zoo, the baby was born at 11.52am and shortly after, was being nurtured by its mother. Shin Shin is so protective of her new baby in fact, that zoo staff haven't been able to get close enough to confirm the new arrival's weight or sex. Regardless, The Japan Times reports that zoo officials confirmed in a press conference that both mother and cub appear to be healthy.

"I'm full of emotion. We are really happy about it," Yutaka Fukuda, head of the zoo, said at the conference. "But we would like to carefully monitor them because the cub is still in a very early stage.

"Panda is a very difficult animal to breed and there are still many things we don't know," Fukuda said. "I hope the cub will grow up healthy and contribute to conservation of the species."

The rarity of such a birth has been celebrated around the world, with people posting to Twitter in their excitement.

And the panda's birth has had a knock-on effect: money. CNN is dubbing the arrival of the baby panda and its influence on the local economy 'pandanomics'. Let us explain. Two local restaurants located close to the zoo saw their shares soar following the cub's birth. CNN Money reports that investors bet on a baby panda boom for businesses, as visitors are expected to flock from far and wide to see the new cub and bring their appetites with them. French restaurant Seiyoken saw an overall 6.5 percent increase in their shares, while Chinese restaurant Totenko's shares surged a whopping 38 percent, finishing the trading day 6.7 percent higher.

According to the Japan Times, the zoo hasn't decided when the cub will officially be put on display. The usual waiting time is about six months, so it will be a while before the first pictures, of what is sure to be an adorable addition to the giant panda population, emerge.

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