Tags: national zoo | panda | cubs | die

National Zoo's Panda Cub Dies; Smaller Twin Gone After 3 and a Half Days

Image: National Zoo's Panda Cub Dies; Smaller Twin Gone After 3 and a Half Days
Smithsonian National Zoo Director Dennis Kelly speaks to members of the media during a news conference to announce the death of a giant panda cub August 26, 2015 at the National Zoo in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 27 Aug 2015 10:31 AM

One of two panda cubs born at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., earlier this week died Wednesday after doctors scrambled to save its life.

The smaller of the twin panda cubs, which weighed about 3 ounces at birth, appeared to have trouble breathing and grew weaker after spending the night with its mother, USA Today reported. Veterinarians tried medication to break up mucus in its lungs along with aerosolized antibiotics and pumping oxygen into its incubator.

The zoo's chief veterinarian Don Neiffer told The Washington Post that they worked on the tiny panda even after its heart and respiration ceased.

"We kept going, and we kept listening, and then at 2:05, I said, 'Sorry, guys, we're done,'" Neiffer told The Post.

The National Zoo shared the sad news on social media.



The twin cubs were born Saturday, according to the USA Today. The larger cub appears to be "strong, robust, [and] behaving normally" along with mother Mei Xiang.

"We were so incredibly hopeful," Brandie Smith, the National Zoo's associate director for animal care sciences, said. "When we realized the cub wasn't going to make it, it was devastating."

Marc Brody, founder of Panda Mountain, a nonprofit that is working to restore a panda habitat in the Wolong Nature Reserve in China, told National Geographic that the death of the smaller panda shows how difficult it is to keep them alive, whether in captivity or the wild.

"A fundamental rule of nature is survival of the fittest," Brody told National Geographic. "When a mother panda has twins in the wild, the mother will only care for the stronger cub, sacrificing the weaker baby to help ensure the more vigorous cub survives."

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One of two panda cubs born at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., earlier this week died Wednesday after doctors scrambled to save its life.
national zoo, panda, cubs, die
316
2015-31-27
Thursday, 27 Aug 2015 10:31 AM
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