Newborn giant panda dies of pneumonia at Ueno Zoo

July 11, 2012

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

A newborn giant panda that captivated and delighted a nation, the first to be born in 24 years at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoological Gardens, died of pneumonia on the morning of July 11, zoo officials said.

The cub, a male, was born on July 5.

The baby panda’s heart was not beating when zookeepers picked him up after he was found lying on his back on the belly of his mother, Shin Shin, at 7:30 a.m. on July 11, officials said.

Although zookeepers massaged his heart and took other steps to resuscitate him, the cub was confirmed dead at 8:30 a.m.

The yet-to-be-named cub was the first born at the zoo through natural breeding.

After the baby was born, Shin Shin was seen breastfeeding him in response to his cries.

Grainy video footage and photographs of Shin Shin and her cub were released to the media and shown throughout the nation on newscasts and in newspapers. Crowds swarmed the zoo to celebrate the birth of the baby panda.

But the cub was placed in an infant incubator several times after Shin Shin stopped holding him and left him on their cage’s concrete floor on the night of July 6.

He was placed back with Shin Shin on July 10.

The cub was born to Shin Shin, 7, and Ri Ri, 6, both of which arrived in Japan in February 2011 from the Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan province in China. The birth was a rare occurrence since natural breeding in captivity is difficult to achieve for the endangered species.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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A newborn giant panda is given his mother's breast milk at the Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo on July 7. (Ueno Zoological Gardens)

A newborn giant panda is given his mother's breast milk at the Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo on July 7. (Ueno Zoological Gardens)

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  • A newborn giant panda is given his mother's breast milk at the Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo on July 7. (Ueno Zoological Gardens)

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