Mei Xiang’s Baby Panda Cub Passed Away This Morning

Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

Very sad news from the National Zoo:

We are brokenhearted 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.

20 Comment

  • This is so very sad.

  • PoP only updates on the weekend for bad news 🙁

  • Can other folks confirm that this devastated them? I’m in tears, a mess. I’m so upset and I’m wondering if I’m the only one.

  • Definitely not the only one. I feel heartbroken for Mei Xiang.

  • So very very sad. Life is so precious and fragile. I would watch Mei Xiang take care of that cub. She was wiser than so many of us in that way. Now on to the latest shooting…

  • So much sad. RIP, little buddy.

  • I can’t understand why this is so sad. I am an animal lover and value life, but I just don’t get why this would be devastating or heart breaking. The media attention around this panda’s birth and death is a little ridiculous.

  • For me what’s most gripping about this is the mother’s “distress vocalization.” Anyone who’s ever witnessed a death, attended an emotional funeral, or even seen a death scene well acted on the screen knows that this panda mother’s “distress vocalization” is an incredibly painful cry –not a cry for help, but a desperate cry in stage one of the Kubler-Ross steps to acceptance of death. The first stage is denial, and that’s why for humans the moment of death so often comes with a scream of “no.” Churchill said it so well. His infant daughter died and he noted that at the moment of death his wife “screamed as though under torture.” To the POP reader who doesn’t get why this is a loss: Because so many of us animals use that “distress vocalization” at a death, many of us feel a strong connection to the mother in her loss, understand the pain of her scream.

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