Hua Zui Ba, the female giant panda at the Madrid Zoo Aquarium, had a cub in the wee hours Friday that is now under the constant care of technicians and veterinarians.

This is the fourth cub of the species to be born at the Madrid zoo after Chulin in 1982, and the twins Po and De in 2010, also offspring of Hua, that are now at the Chinese reserve of Chengdu.

The natural birth took place at 3:45 a.m. after Hua had been in labor for four hours.

The zoo said in a press release that "it does not rule out the possibility of another cub being born in the coming hours."

Workers at the zoo detected Thursday the first signs that Hua was about to give birth, before which her state had been a constant worry.

Besides zoo technicians and veterinarians, two collaborators from the giant-panda reserve of Chengdu will be caring for the cub and its mother in the coming months.

Madrid Zoo Aquarium officials described the birth as "great international news," because, they recalled, the giant panda is a species "in grave danger of extinction," of which fewer than 300 specimens remain in captivity and some 1,600 in the wild. 

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