The unnamed, week-old giant panda cub at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., has died. On Sunday, after hearing sounds of distress coming from the cub’s mother, 14-year-old Mei Xiang, staff members worked for over an hour to retrieve the cub, which they found to be unresponsive. Veterinarians attempted to revive the cub, only to pronounce it dead six minutes after retrieval. It showed no outward signs of illness, according to officials. The cub, unnamed in keeping with the Chinese tradition of naming new-born pandas 100 days after birth, was born on September 16 by artificial insemination. Mei Xiang had failed in her previous five pregnancy attempts since 2007, and her chances of having another successful pregnancy were believed to be around 10 percent. The father was 15-year-old Tian Tian. “These bears are so critically endangered that every cub is important,” said Dennis Kelly, the zoo’s director. “This is devastating for all of us here.”
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