Cause of panda cub death still unclear
Giant Panda Mei Xiang enjoys a fruitscicle January 20, 2011 at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo in Washington, DC.
September 24th, 2012
11:35 AM ET

Cause of panda cub death still unclear

Veterinarians at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington have ruled out the possibility that a newborn giant panda cub was crushed by its mother, but an initial necropsy on the 4-ounce cub failed to provide a clear cause of death, officials said Monday.

The cub, believed to be a female, died Sunday, just six days after its widely celebrated birth. Just the size of a stick of butter, it had not yet been named.

The necropsy - the animal version of an autopsy - revealed the cub had some potentially unusual fluid in its abdomen and its liver was discolored and had hard in spots, said Dr. Suzan Murray, the zoo's chief veterinarian.

But investigators won't know if those findings are significant until lab tests and a full necropsy report come back in two weeks, she said. The initial exam revealed no obvious cause of death, zoo officials said. The cub had nursed, the exam showed, but it was unclear how well, Murray said.

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soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Sinfully Yours

    Mei Xiang mistook its baby for a chew toy.

    September 24, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Cliff Drive

      Ok so how did the baby panda die really was it crushed by its mother or is it still not know?

      September 25, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cliff Drive

      poor baby panda : (

      September 25, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Grey Shirt

    This was pretty sad. Only 19 days old. A cute lil friend.

    September 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Grey Shirt

      10 days old. . . sorry.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    The cub was six days old.

    Poor little critter.

    September 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    Sorry, Pedro, but it is me.

    September 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alex

    These bears are very dangerous when encountered in the wild. They are known throughout Asia to be one of natures most feroceous creatures. They can take an arm off with one swipe.

    September 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Portland tony

    Why don't we humans get them out of Zoos when they still have a chance to bear offspring. It seems pretty damn stupid of zoologists not to be able to electronically monitor the mother and fetus/baby panda knowing their terrible mortality rate. Who has to tell these cage cleaners that inoder

    September 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      ........may need human intervention to save gneiss species?

      September 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chantal

      Panda's are bloodthirsty. Do we really want to protect them?

      September 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cobra Jim

    I saw one take down a water buffalo once. Wish I had got it on film.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mary

    My stuffed Panda as a little girl was better than any pillow I ever had before or since. 🙂
    One of those memories that bring an instant smile to your face.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |