A panda at the Beijing Zoo accidentally crushed her new cub to death after abandoning its twin, Chinese media reported on Tuesday.
Eight-year-old Yinghua gave birth to female twin cubs on Friday but the mother nursed only one of them, the zoo's deputy president, Zhang Jinguo, told the China Daily newspaper.
‚ÄúMother pandas are always like that. Twins are rare and all mothers take only the first cub as their own,‚ÄĚ Zhang was quoted as saying.
The abandoned cub was sent away to a giant panda research and breeding base in the southwestern Sichuan Province.
Soon after tragedy struck, the mother panda crushed the remaining cub. The new mother, still clumsy and inexperienced, accidentally squashed her cub to death in a corner of the pen in the early hours Saturday, a zoo worker was quoted as saying.
‚ÄúShe had heard the cub crying for milk, and hurriedly turned her giant body around to nurse it,‚ÄĚ he said.
Zhang told China Daily it was the first such tragedy at the Beijing Zoo, where seven giant pandas lived in captivity. ‚ÄúPandas have poor eyesight. Yinghua apparently didn't see the cub.‚ÄĚ
With only about 1,600 giant pandas around the world, they are among the world's most endangered species.