Baby Pandas: First Photographs Released

Fourteen baby giant pandas born at a research centre in southwest China have been put on show for the first time.

The cubs were bred artificially at the Chengdu Breeding and Research Base in Sichuan, the mountainous province where almost all wild pandas originate.

They were born between July and September and are being raised in two delivery rooms with glass windows to allow visitors to see them.

Meng Meng, the oldest of the group, weighs around four times as much as Ya Yi, the youngest, who was born 40 days later.

"In terms of weight, the biggest cub already weighs over three kilograms (6.6lbs) - almost four kilograms (8.8lbs)," said keeper Mao Min. "The smallest is only around 700 grams (1.5lbs)."

The first 10 days are the most dangerous in a young panda's life as that is when they are most susceptible to disease.

Pandas are one of the world's endangered animals with roughly 300 in captivity throughout the world and fewer than 1,600 living in the wild in China.