Smaller of Twin Pandas Dies
MEXICO CITY (AP) _ The smaller of two-day-old panda twins, which its mother had ignored, died Thursday in Chapultepec Park Zoo, the zoo’s administrator said.
The pink, furry cub, which fit in the palm of a hand, lived for 37 hours in the care of zoo employees, who held it around the clock and caressed it.
At Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo, the first baby panda was born Thursday.
Ying-Ying, the mother of the twins born in Mexico City, had focused all her attention on the firstborn, zoo administrator Maria Elen Hoyo told a news conference.
Ms. Hoyo said, ″She’s a sensational mother,″ and probably did not even realize she had a second cub, which was born two hours and five minutes after the first on Tuesday afternoon.
″When she saw the second one it seemed like a strange thing,″ Ms. Hoyo said. Ying-Ying has been holding the first cub constantly to her chest and licking it, Ms. Hoyo said.
She said the firstborn, about twice the size of the one that died, seemed to be doing well.
Ms. Hoyo held the dead cub in her palm. It looked like a little pink rat. She said the zoo would conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
The smaller panda weighed 2.4 ounces and measured 5.6 inches at birth.
Ms. Hoyo said it suffered a ″respiratory crisis″ early Wednesday night, during which it was gulping air through its mouth instead of breathing through its nostrils. It died quietly at 4:10 a.m. Thursday, she said.
She said the baby was believed to be male, although it was impossible to determine the sex with complete accuracy.
Eight members of a medical team at the zoo had taken turns holding the baby and feeding it serum, formula milk and dog’s milk through a tiny plastic tube.
The baby was held against the person’s chest and caressed when it was awake. When it slept, it was held with both hands in an apron pocket.
Ms. Reyes said that in the other case of panda twins born in captivity outside China, in Madrid, one also died.
Ying-Ying was in isolation Thursday with the live cub. Ms. Reyes said the father, Pe-Pe, would not be involved in caring for it, but seemed to take notice of the birth.
″When he heard the baby’s cries, he started walking round and round in circles,″ she said.
Pe-Pe and Ying-Ying, among the most prolific giant pandas in the Western world, were given to Mexico by China in 1975 and will be 11 years old this year.
They have had five cubs here, including the one that died Thursday. Ying- Ying’s first was born in 1980, but died eight days later when the mother accidentally crushed it.
Tohui, born July 21, 1981, and Liang-Liang, born June 22, 1983, are almost as large as their parents, weighing 308 pounds and 266 pounds respectively.
Zoo officials in Tokyo said the cub born there, to Huan Huan, was six to eight inches long and weighed about 31/2 ounces. Katsuichi Nagayama, an official of the Tokyo parks department, said its sex had not yet been determined.
The 220-pound, 12-year-old mother was artificially inseminated March 9.
The zoo turned to artificial insemination after Huan Huan and her companion, 18-year-old Fei Fei, failed to mate after several springs together.