Baby Panda Twin Dies At The National Zoo

The smaller baby panda twin that was born to Mei Xiang at the National Zoo a few days ago has died, according to a tweet from the National Zoo Twitter account. As the Inquisitr reported earlier today, Mei Xiang spent more time with the larger of the two baby cubs, which left the smaller one without proper care.

Over the past few days when they realized Mei Xiang was focusing only on the larger cub, they took to Twitter to provide updates about the current situation. While they attempted a few tricks in order to get Mei Xiang to release the larger cub and care for the smaller cub, the mother panda was not willing to participate the majority of the time. Regardless, the National Zoo did all they could to care for the smaller baby panda while the mother had the larger one.

Things were actually looking positive until 7:15 a.m. this morning, according to the Washington Post. The smaller panda spent the night with its mother from Tuesday night until Wednesday morning after the Zoo staff was able to make the switch, but it did not look good when they checked on it. The baby panda was not breathing properly and it was just not gaining weight. Over the next six hours, the staff provided antibiotics, oxygen, CPR, and even resuscitation drugs, but it was not enough to save its life.

The Zoo’s chief veterinarian Don Neiffer explained that they did everything possible.

“We kept going, and we kept listening, and then at 2:05 I said, ‘Sorry, guys,’ we’re done,” he said with a heavy heart.

According to the Smithsonian Newsdesk, the mortality rate for panda cubs in the first year of their lives is 26 percent for males and 20 percent for females. It has not yet been determined if the smaller baby panda cub was a male or female, but this information should come out within the next few weeks after an autopsy is completed.

They also say the mother did not actually favor the larger cub over the smaller cub. The problem is panda mothers are really only equipped to care for one cub at a time, which usually causes problems when twins are born. At birth, baby pandas are 1/9000th the size of the mother and basically helpless for the first year or so of their lives, according to the Huffington Post.

At the moment, the larger surviving twin appears to be doing well. Since it is still a high-risk time, the National Zoo will be keeping a close eye on Mei Xiang and her cub.

[Image via Smithsonian’s National Zoo/Getty Images]

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