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National Zoo Investigates Death Of Baby Red Panda

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By Greg Peppers

The National Zoo is investigating the death of its 21-day old Red Panda cub.

The cub was found dead on Wednesday but the cause of death is still unknown.

Don Moore is Associate Director for Animal Care Sciences at the Zoo. He says they'd been keeping a close watch on the animals due to the extreme heat, but he also says the high temperatures weren't a factor in the Panda's death.

"We put a plan in to place to weigh it this morning, but then on the evening check yesterday evening we found the cub dead," he says. "The cause of death is not definitive, although we have an expert pathology team that immediately did a necropsy."

There is a 50 percent mortality rate for endangered Red Panda cubs born in captivity. But, despite the statistics, Moore says they will try again next year.

"This death was very disappointing to all of us, but yes, of course, we're going to breed again," he says.

Moore also says since the heatwave began, zookeepers have been vigilant about maintaining all of the animals' cooling centers.

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