Newborn Panda Cub Dies at National Zoo
A giant panda cub born to great fanfare at the National Zoo in Washington last week has died, the zoo said on Sunday.
“Panda keepers and volunteers heard a distress vocalization from the mother, Mei Xiang, at 9:17 a.m. and notified the veterinarian staff immediately,” the zoo said in a statement. “Veterinarians immediately performed CPR and other lifesaving measures but the cub did not respond.”
The cub was in healthy condition, with no outward sign of trauma or infection, the zoo said. It weighed about 100 grams and was about the size of a stick of butter, zoo officials said.
The birth of the cub last Sunday surprised zookeepers. Its 14-year-old mother Mei Xiang has had five failed pregnancies since 2007 and her odds of conceiving were believed to be about 10 percent, the zoo said. Panda bear cubs do not receive names for 100 days, in accordance with Chinese tradition.
The cub, whose sex was not yet determined, was the second born to Mei Xiang. Her first cub, Tai Shan, was born in July 2005. He now lives at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan Province. Both panda cubs were fathered by Tian Tian, a 15-year-old male.