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National Zoo to reveal cause of panda cub death

Posted at: 10/10/2012 1:45 PM

Washington's National Zoo is set to reveal what caused the death of a 6-day-old giant panda cub.
 
The zoo will disclose the cause at a news conference Thursday morning.
 
The cub, believed to be female, was born Sept. 16. Zoo officials and panda fans around the world were devastated by its death less than a week later. The birth was a surprise because it hadn't been clear whether the mother, 14-year-old Mei Xiang, was still fertile.
 
Panda cubs are born hairless and helpless, about the size of a stick of butter. The mortality rate for females born in captivity is 20 percent in the first year.
 
A preliminary necropsy revealed that the cub had liver abnormalities and fluid in its abdomen. Zoo officials will disclose the final results on Thursday.