National Zoo’s Newborn Panda Mysteriously Dies, Depresses Everyone

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Pandas, much like babies, are a terrific source of cuteness. This is a known fact, but panda babies are the best of both adorable worlds. It was with a good deal of excitement that the Smithsonian National Zoo announced the birth of a new panda only a week ago. Unfortunately, sometimes things just don’t work out. Yesterday, the panda cub was found dead in its enclosure. If today hadn’t already depressed you enough, feel free to continue reading.

The New York Times reports that the discovery was only made when Mei Xiang, the mother, began making troubling noises yesterday morning:

It took an hour to retrieve the cub, and the workers found it unresponsive. Veterinarians tried to revive the cub, performing lifesaving measures including CPR. But they pronounced the cub dead six minutes after retrieving it from the pen.

Clearly grief-stricken, zoo officials described the death as a significant blow to the zoo and to international conservation efforts.

“These bears are so critically endangered that every cub is important,” Dennis Kelly, the zoo’s director, said at a news conference on Sunday. “This is devastating for all of us here.”

Due to tradition, the cub had yet to be named. Pandas are notoriously difficult to breed, and the last time Mei Xiang successfully carried a cub to term was in 2005. If you need me, I’ll be right over there eating a tub of ice cream and watching panda videos.

(via The New York Times, image via George Lu)

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