City Desk

National Zoo: Baby Panda Died This Morning

Mei Xiang

Update, 2:34 p.m: Zoo officials have provided more information about the panda's death, including when it made its last noises and the future of the panda program at the zoo.

The panda cub born last week at the National Zoo died this morning at less than seven days old, according to a press release from the zoo.

According to the zoo, panda mother Mei Xiang began making distress noises around 9:17 a.m. this morning. Veterinarians were able to reach the cub about an hour later, but it did not respond to CPR.

The press release doesn't list a cause of death for the panda, which was born last Sunday night. According to veterinarians, the panda's body showed no evidence of injury or infection.

We'll have more details about the panda's death after a zoo press conference at 1 p.m. this afternoon.

Full National Zoo press release after the jump


The Smithsonian’s National Zoo community mourns the loss of the giant panda cub born Sunday, Sept. 16. 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 panda cam was turned off and the staff were able to safely retrieve the cub for an evaluation at 10:22 a.m. Veterinarians immediately performed CPR and other life-saving measures but the cub did not respond.

Mei Xiang is under close observation.

Veterinarians’ first observations include:

· The cub was in good body condition and weighed just under 100g

· No outward sign of trauma

· No outward sign of infection

Photo via Flickr user hinnosaar used under a Creative Commons license

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  • Kate Brown

    I was SO sorry to learn of the death of this baby. while the one here in San Diego is doing very well, it is a terrible tragedy to lose ANY Panda. My heart goes out to all who cared for the newborn and the mother. I hope they will continue their breeding program in spite of this heartbreak.

  • Janice Hunter

    I hope the Chinese panda breeding program will either take the National Zoo pandas back to China and put them into their breeding program or send them to San Diego where they have a perfect record of cub survival. Six for six. All born to the amazing Bai Yun.

    The National Zoo has had pandas for longer than any zoo in the US and they have only one surviving cub.

    Their breeding program has been a disaster and it is time to put the pandas where they have a chance of producing cubs that will live more than the few days all of the NZ cubs have, except for one.

    Pandas are too precious and rare to waste their potential at the National Zoo any longer.

    And an hour from when Mei started to make distress calls before they got to the cub? Might it possibly have been saved if they had gotten to it sooner?

    I am so sad for the cub and for Mei.

  • http://w.c.p cara vasquez

    so sad she lost her baby

  • Gretchen

    So sad she lost her baby. I am sure the zoo personel did all they could. Maybe the distressed mother prevented them from getting to the baby.