One of the twin pandas born at Washington’s Smithsonian National Zoo over the weekend died on Wednesday after experiencing respiratory difficulties.
When reporting the death on Twitter, the zoo revealed that the larger twin cub seems to be strong, behaving normally and is with its mother, 17-year-old Mei Xiang.
The twins were born on August 22, with the larger cub weighing almost 5 oz. and the smaller one scaling in at just 3 oz. After their births, the zookeepers swapped the cubs with Mei Xiang every four hours so that she could nurse each one.
The zookeepers were initially optimistic about the survival chances for the twin cubs. However, when they switched the cubs on Wednesday morning, the smaller one seemed weaker.
“This morning, when our team went in to perform the swap again, we immediately noted that the little cub had not increased in weight, appeared weaker and was exhibiting possible respiratory issues,” Dr. Donald Neiffer, the chief veterinarian of the National Zoo, said.
Veterinarians fed the cub antibiotics, fluids, and respiratory support, but the cub’s health started to deteriorate into the early afternoon, and the cub died at 2:05 PM EDT.
The National Zoo is one of only four zoos in the US to house pandas, which are on loan from China. Mei Xiang arrived at the zoo in 2000 and has given birth to two surviving cubs, Bao Bao and Tai Shan, who has since been returned to the motherland.
By Lily Cao
[Image via People’s Daily]