Rare Giant Panda Cub Dies In Japan

Giant panda Shin Shin's new baby

One week after generating huge support in Japan a giant Panda cub has passed away. The seven-day-old cub which was never given a name passed away after suffering through a bout of pneumonia.

According to staff members at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo the mother’s milk from the Panda accidentally entered into the cubs airway leading to pneumonia.

According to zoo director Toshimitsu Doi, the baby cub was found unresponsive while laying on its mother’s belly. Zookeepers attempted to return the baby Giant Panda to an incubator and at 6:45 a.m. on Wednesday after hearing the cub cry out they tried to massage its heart to revive it but confirmed the death at 8:30 a.m. local time.

According to Doi:

“The cub swallowed milk into its respiratory organs and developed pneumonia.”

The birth comes after the seven-year-old mother Shin Shin managed to conceive naturally, a rare feat for Giant Panda’s and a first in Japan. Typically the Panda’s which have a low birth rate are inseminated artificially.

While the unnamed cub was held by its mother zoo officials also routinely placed it in an incubator in order to monitor its progress.

According to zoo officials 60% to 70% of baby Giant Pandas die within the first week of life.

Shin Shin and mate Ri Ri were leased to Japan by China in 2011 at a cost of $1 million per year.

Chinese officials had hoped that the birth of the baby cub would excite renewed relations between the two countries. China often uses loans and gifts of rare animals as an attempt to strengthen diplomatic ties.