STAFF AT THE Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC have said they are “broken-hearted” over the death of a giant panda cub today.
The week-old cub was the zoo’s latest arrival, after being born to mother Mei Xiang just last Sunday.
Panda keepers and volunteers heard the female panda make a distress noise at about 9.15am and vets were notified immediately. The panda cam was turned off and the cub was taken for evaluation about an hour later. This, the zoo said, is only done in “situations of gravest concern”.
Keepers had been trying to give the mother-and-baby space so it could be reared naturally.
CPR was performed, as well as other life saving measures, but the young panda remained unresponsive.
The National Zoo said the panda, which had yet to be named, weighed less than 100 grams. There were no outward signs of trauma or infection.
Mei Xiang is on loan to the zoo. Giant pandas are rare and endangered with as few as 1,600 living in the wild.