Newborn Giant Panda Cub Dies & Our Nation Mourns the Loss Along With Mei Xiang

Heartbreaking 29

Mei XiangSome extremely sad news comes out of our nation's capital today, as the new giant panda cub has died. Just last week the world celebrated the birth of the unexpected cub, and today zoo officials found it dead, after hearing cries of distress from its mother, Mei Xiang.

The National Zoo tweeted this morning: "We are brokenhearted to share that we have lost our little giant panda cub."

Dennis Kelly, director of the zoo, expressed his grief in a news conference today over the cub, who had not yet been named: "This is devastating for all of us here. It's hard to describe how much passion and energy and care has gone into this."

If you remember, it was just this past May when we were watching the live tweets from the zoo as Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated. There was less than a 20 percent chance that she would get pregnant, but she did, and it was a great moment for the zoo and the world when the cub was born.

But that joy didn't last, and zoo officials aren't sure why. According to the  Associated Press, there were "no outward signs of trauma or infection." While hopefully they will be able to determine what happened, the loss is devastating no matter the cause of death.

"These bears are so critically endangered that every panda cub is important," Suzan Murray, the zoo's chief veterinarian, told CNN.

This cub's birth came after years of hoping and trying for another addition to the family. To see its life end so suddenly is devastating, and it must be especially so for Mei Xing. After the cub's birth, Murray had written:

Mei Xiang is behaving exactly the same way she did when Tai Shan was born. She is cradling her cub closely, and she looks so tired, but every time she tries to lay down, the cub squawks and she sits right up and cradles the cub more closely. She is the poster child for a perfect panda mom.

Here she was with the cub:

And now she has lost her baby. While I don't believe animals feel emotion exactly the same way humans do, she is inevitably feeling a loss and hurting along with the many people around the world who have become so passionate about these beautiful animals.

 Are you surprised to hear this sad news?


Image via Marit & Toomas Hinosaar/Flickr

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flood... flood1971

Mother gives birth; mother loses baby; mother suffers. Who gives a sh.t she's not human. She's a mother. Are you? Are you a panda and knows what its like for her? Come on!

knho knho

Zoos suck. They are animal prisons plain & simple. Animals in zoos do nothing but suffer. All so people can stare at them for 60sec & then move on to the next when the animal isn't bring entertaining enough. A few seconds of "pleasure" for you & a lifetime of misery for the animals. Zoos suck!

aom1112 aom1112

I feel horrible for any mother, any SPECIES that loses their child. I would say humans are the one species of animal that can learn from most others.

And anyone that says animals do not feel the pain are the ignorant ones.

Nina St Clair-MacPherson sad! I sure hope the people that shold know figure out what's going on so the Giant Panda Species can be saved....

cherylam cherylam

if you don't think animals have emotions like ours, come around when we have to separate mama cows and calves.... the cries are heartbreaking, and it's the same way with goats.  When we had to put down our Samoyed last spring, our Great Dane stood beside me at her grave, howling and crying.  We had to drag her away, and she barely ate for days, always needing a cuddle and rub to let her know we remembered BearBear too.  Animals most certainly do have emotions like ours, and the death of a child for any  animal, be it human or panda, is devastating.



nonmember avatar night magic

all animals feel a loss for their babies .this is just to sad for words .

Rita Curry

 Well, I guess you  told her off, your the moron I've raised to many dogs, not to know when things aren't right & they do grieve in there own way. You just have to know your animal really well.

nonmember avatar Kylee

My heart breaks for Mei Xiang who undoubtedly feels the loss of her child. I have to commend the zoo's staff and volunteers who reacted quickly when the mother issued the distress calls. They did everything right. So sad it didn't turn out more positively.

nonmember avatar annoyed

Ugh, people. What would the reaction have been if she had NOT written that line? Everyone who's ever lost a loved one would have come out of the woodwork to tell her she's an insensitive "moron" for comparing an animal's torment to ours. These writers have to walk on egg shells around you people and they just can't win!

Dalla... DallasGirl214

This makes me want to cry :(

I love pandas and it breaks my heart to see how the mama was feeling.

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