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National Zoo 'Brokenhearted': One-Week-Old Panda Cub Dies

The National Zoo in Washington, D.C. broke the sad news on its Facebook page: the baby panda born a week ago has died. After hearing giant panda mother Mei Xiang making “distress vocalization” sounds, Zoo staff attempted CPR and other life-saving measures, but the cub was unresponsive.

The Zoo’s Facebook announcement this weekend read:

We are broken-hearted to share that we have lost our little giant panda cub. Panda keepers and volunteers heard Mei Xiang make a distress vocalization at 9:17 a.m. and let the veterinarian staff know immediately. They turned off the panda cam and were able to safely retrieve the cub for an evaluation at 10:22 a.m., which we only do in situations of gravest concern. The veterinarians immediately performed CPR and other life-saving measures, but sadly the cub was unresponsive. We’ll have more updates as we learn more, but right now we know is that the cub weighed just under 100 grams and that there was no outward sign of trauma or infection. We’ll share information with you as we learn more.

A necropsy has been performed, and results should be available in about two weeks that explain more about the cause of death, reports ABC News.

“This is devastating for all of us here,” said Dennis Kelly, director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. “It’s hard to describe how much passion and energy and thought and care has gone into all of this.”

At this time, the panda exhibit at the Zoo is closed, and zookeepers are monitoring Mei Xiang closely, according to the Zoo’s latest Facebook update.

The baby cub had not been named, respecting the Chinese tradition of waiting 100 days before naming a panda cub.

(Photo Credit: ABC News)

Read more from Joslyn at Strollerderby and at her blog, stark. raving. mad. mommy. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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