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National Zoo's Giant Panda Cub Has Died

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In this file photo released by Smithsonian's National Zoo 4-month-old giant panda cub Tai Shan nuzzles his mother Mei Xiang, following his 12th health exam, Monday, Nov. 21, 2005, at the National Zoo in Washington.
AP Photo/Smithsonian's National Zoo, Jessie Cohen
In this file photo released by Smithsonian's National Zoo 4-month-old giant panda cub Tai Shan nuzzles his mother Mei Xiang, following his 12th health exam, Monday, Nov. 21, 2005, at the National Zoo in Washington.

The giant panda cub born Sept. 16 at the National Zoo has died, reports the Associated Press.

"We are heartbroken to share that we have lost our little giant panda cub," says the National Zoo in a tweet.

The cub's mother, Mei Xiang, was heard making a distressing noise at 9:17 a.m. this morning. Panda keepers alerted the veterinarian immediately. The staff safely retrieved the cub for evaluation at 10:22 a.m., and immediately performed CPR and other life-saving measures, but the cub was unresponsive.

"This is devastating for all of us here," says zoo director Dennis Kelly. "It's hard to describe how much passion and energy and thought and care has gone into this."

The giant panda cub weighed just under 100 grams, and there were no signs of trauma or infection, report zoo officials.

Mei Xiang gave birth to the cub last Sunday through artificial insemination. She had five failed pregnancies before giving birth.

The cause of death and gender will not be known until a necropsy is performed.

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