First giant panda born in Toyko zoo for 24 years dies less than a week after birth
Wednesday 11 July 2012
A baby giant panda died at a Tokyo zoo today, less than a week after becoming the first to be born at the facility in 24 years. The birth had created excitement across Japan, and the nation was mourning the baby's death.
Tokyo's Ueno Zoo said the male panda, who had not been named yet, died of pneumonia this morning. A zookeeper found the baby, who was born last Thursday, lying belly up, not breathing, on his 7-year-old mother's chest.
He was pronounced dead an hour later, after resuscitation efforts failed.
In a news conference broadcast live, Yutaka Fukuda, the zoo's chief panda keeper, said milk had accidentally entered the baby's airway while his mother, Shin Shin, was breast-feeding. Autopsy results found traces of milk in the baby's bronchial tube.
The baby panda had been kept in an incubator for three days before being sent back to Shin Shin on yesterday.
"They peacefully spent the night and the baby was doing fine just this morning," Fukuda said, tears welling up in his eyes. "It happened so suddenly, and it's such a pity."
The panda was the first to be born at the zoo since 1988 and was conceived naturally. Giant pandas have a low birth rate, and artificial insemination is common in captive breeding programs.
His mother was brought from China just before Japan's tsunami and earthquake disasters last year. The much anticipated baby, the first born to Shin Shin, had been celebrated across Japan, and the news of his death topped afternoon television news today.
The zoo said it would set up a space for visitors to lay flowers and pray for the dead panda.
Less than half of newborn pandas survive more than a week, Fukuda said, citing Chinese panda experts. The rate is even worse for pandas born to first-time mothers, he said.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...