Giant Panda Cub Dies A Week After Birth
Unfortunately, a giant panda cub died at the National Zoo in Washington recently died due to unknown complications.
Its mother, Mei Xiang, appeared distressed on the morning of September 23, and zookeepers eventually found the cub unresponsive in its dwelling, according to reports.
Panda births are exceptionally rare in zoos around the United States, and failed births commonly occur. Also, there are very few pandas in the country’s zoos to begin with.
Panda cubs are exceptionally tiny in comparison to their mothers during the early stages of growth. Typically, a mother is hundreds and hundreds of pounds heavier than her cub, and incidents of smothering deaths do occur.
Zookeepers at the National Zoo do not know what happened to the unnamed cub yet though.
“This is devastating for all of us here,” said National Zoo director Dennis Kelly. “It’s hard to describe how much passion and energy and thought and care has gone into this.”
A necropsy was being conducted to determine the cause of death, said Suzan Murray, the zoo’s chief veterinarian. No signs of physical trauma existed on the cub at the time of recovery.
In 2010, a panda birthed by Mei Xiang was returned to China.
“The cub was just beautiful. Beautiful little body, beautiful face, with markings just beginning to show around the eye,” Murray said.