Sunday, May 24, 2015Sunday, May 24, 2015

Second panda cub at US National Zoo arrives stillborn

Published on Aug 25, 2013 1:38 PM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - A giant panda surprised its keepers by giving birth to a stillborn cub at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington on Saturday evening, a day after the animal delivered a live cub, an official said.

The stillborn cub was born with "many abnormalities" and when a staff member retrieved it from the floor of its mother's den it was "very apparent it had never been alive," said zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson.

The mother panda, 15-year-old Mei Xiang, while holding onto the firstborn cub, groomed the stillborn cub for 17 minutes before letting it down, Ms Baker-Masson said.

"The fact that Mei never set down the first cub shows us, it demonstrates that she's a terrific mom," she said.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!