What Happened to the Panda Cub?

Lindsay Beyerstein

Mei Xiang is innocent! The Washinton Zoo’s giant panda was suspected of inadvertently crushing her baby, but a preliminary necropsy on the cub absolves her:

The giant panda cub that died Sunday morning had uneven coloring and hardness in her liver, officials at the National Zoo in Washington said Monday.

That information came from a preliminary necropsy, but it was not a conclusive cause of the sudden death of the 6-day-old female cub, who was heard grunting just 17 minutes before she was found lifeless, zoo officials said. Final results of a full necropsy will not be available for another two weeks. [NYT]

In light of the high cost and low success rate of captive panda breeding, some conservationists are beginning to wonder whether it’s even worth it.

What kind of quitter talk is that?

The Linnean Society of London is hosting a public forum in October called Do We Need Pandas?” Future events in this series include: Do We Need Hugs?” and Do We Need Sunshine?”

Lindsay Beyerstein is an award-winning investigative journalist and In These Times staff writer who writes the blog Duly Noted. Her stories have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, Slate, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, and other publications. Her photographs have been published in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times’ City Room. She also blogs at The Hillman Blog (http://​www​.hill​man​foun​da​tion​.org/​h​i​l​l​m​a​nblog), a publication of the Sidney Hillman Foundation, a non-profit that honors journalism in the public interest.
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