Giant panda baby dies

2012-07-11 10:25
The newly born male panda baby in Japan has died of pneumonia. (Ueno Zoological Park Society, AP)

The newly born male panda baby in Japan has died of pneumonia. (Ueno Zoological Park Society, AP)

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Tokyo - A giant panda born at a Tokyo zoo last week has died.

Tokyo's Ueno Zoo says the 6-day-old panda died of pneumonia on Wednesday morning. A zookeeper found it lying belly up, without breathing, on its 7-year-old mother's chest.

The male baby, which hadn't been named yet, died an hour later despite heart massage.

It was the first panda born at the zoo since 1988 and was conceived naturally.

Its mother, Shin Shin, was brought from China just before Japan's tsunami and earthquake disasters in 2011. The much anticipated baby had been celebrated across Japan, and the news of its death topped afternoon television news on Wednesday.

Giant pandas have a low birth rate, and artificial insemination is common in captive breeding programmes.
- AP

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