National Zoo's Giant Panda Was 'Good Mom,' Did Not Crush Cub
The National Zoo’s giant panda mother, Mei Xiang, spent the night cradling a cub-sized toy as panda lovers from D.C. to China mourned the death of her week-old cub.
Zookeepers at Washington’s Smithsonian National Zoo discovered Mei Xiang’s cub dead Sunday morning. In keeping with Chinese tradition, it had not yet been given a name. Preliminary tests ruled out the possibility that the 4-ounce cub had been crushed by her 216-pound mother.
“Yes indeed, Mei Xiang was a good mom who protected her cub and did not crush her,” said Dr. Suzan Murray, the zoo’s chief veterinarian. “We all felt that Mei Xiang had been a very good mother and had been very gentle with the cub, and indeed we have found that to be so in the initial necropsy.”
While it could take up to two weeks to determine the cause of the cub’s death, Murray said the initial animal autopsy showed it may have been related to problems with her liver, which was barely the size of a lima bean.
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