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Baby panda born at Ueno Zoo last week dies of pneumonia

37 Comments

A baby giant panda born last week at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo died of pneumonia on Wednesday, according to park officials who had initially hailed the birth as rare success for Japan's captive breeding program.

The unnamed infant, Ueno zoo's first baby panda born in 24 years and its only one conceived from natural sexual intercourse, succumbed to the illness just a week after its birth sparked excitement across Japan.

The zoo said keepers found the baby lying on its back against its 7-year-old mother Shin Shin's stomach.

"They administered a cardiac massage and other treatment, but unfortunately they confirmed its death at 8:30 a.m.," it said.

News of its death topped afternoon television news Wednesday.

Shin Shin and her mate Ri Ri were leased from China last year to the zoo operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan government at an annual cost of about one million dollars.

The baby was hailed in China, which has sometimes hostile relations with neighboring Japan.

"The giant pandas are messengers of friendship," a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said in response to news of the birth last week.

"We hope that people-to-people sentiment and overall relations between China and Japan can be promoted because of the birth of the cub."

China is famed for its "panda diplomacy," using the bears as diplomatic gifts to other countries. About 1,600 remain in the wild in China, with some 300 others in captivity worldwide -- mostly in China.

As many as 16 giant pandas have been born in Japan, according to reports.

© 2012 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

37 Comments
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Ohhhh. What a shame - sad story.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

A loss for the whole world. RIP little guy.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Being born in a zoo is like being born in prison. A zoo doesn't simulate their natural habitat and it's not a practical place for baby animals to be brought up. They need the wild.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

Sad. RIP Ko Panda.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Poor baby.

The other day we had a photo of the baby panda being fed from a bottle - was he taken from his mother because there was a problem, or was being taken away the problem? Either way - poor baby.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Poor Shin Shin... This is really sad news, even more so because pandas are still an endangered species. My wife and I were really looking forward to seeing the little one, as I'm sure many others were.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Pandas are hugely overrated in this country.

If pandas weren't cute, this wouldn't even be news.

The only reason it's news is because pandas are cute.

How shallow is that?

It's almost like racism against animals. Surely the ugly animals are fully deserving of our sympathies when they die too???

-13 ( +11 / -21 )

That's sad! :(

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@sushisake, extinction has a tiny part to play in it, too:

About 1,600 remain in the wild in China, with some 300 others in captivity worldwide - mostly in China.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Its a shame when any creature big or small ugly or beautiful dies.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Poor little baby... things looked so promising in the photo of it being bottle-fed. That's such a sad ending to the story.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

That's a shame, and quite sad. The poor little guy better had a chance at life, and given the feelings of happiness and hope he inspired here (and in China, maybe) this is pretty devastating.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Baby pandas die in the wild, too, especially when they are the mother panda's first birth, like this one was. The baby panda was moved to an incubator a couple of times when the mother showed no signs of allowing it to feed, but had been returned last night. Unfortunately, it apparently aspirated some milk and died shortly thereafter... Today, the crisis of near-extinction for animals such as the panda has less to do with their presence in zoos, and much more to do with threats to their safety and habitats in the wild. While other zoos have more up-to-date facilities that are closer replicas of natural environments, I don't think I'd blame Ueno Zoo or its professional keepers for this sad event... RIP

9 ( +9 / -0 )

A pretty big loss for the zoo keepers and for a lot of panda fans as well.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Diplomatic "gifts"? At a million dollars per year, that's no gift.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

A disaster for panda fans worldwide.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I thought things were going well...

Poor little thing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My co-worker says there's a rumor that Shin Shin stepped on him...

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Too sad. This will make news in other countries too. I hope he's in little Panda heaven.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Just look at that very sad photo. A concrete floor and an iron drain.... Not exactly creature comforts... When will ALL the selfish people realize that animals belong in the wild and not in cages for shallow entertainment.

6 ( +12 / -5 )

A wonderful animal close to extinction. Let's hope this sad death can draw people's attention to the perilous situation of all endangered species. Then again, who am I trying to kid? It'll be forgotten in a few days......

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Such sad news!!! Hope the Chinese don't think he was murdered for political reasons~

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

At this afternoon's press conference with zoo officials, it was said that milk the baby had drunk from the mother may have gone the wrong way and ended up in a lung, thus drowning the baby. While being taken care of by the mother, the baby was being monitored by zoo workers, but in a brief time while out of view something went wrong, time during which the baby died.

Panda experts in China said that from 60 to 70 percent of baby pandas die soon after being born, so such a case is not rare in the world of pandas.

Anyway, we're going to have to wait about another year before another one arrives at Ueno, if the mating session between the parents are successful. Meanwhile, if you want to see young pandas, venture down to Adventure World in Wakayama Prefecture and see their youngsters. Check out their site on the internet. The zoo looks interesting.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Poor panda, poor mother. But I second the comments about the horrific zoo conditions here. The poor mom was kept in a very small enclosure with concrete floors and walls. Not exactly a natural environment. I also have to question why keepers were even handling the poor thing. Leave mom and baby alone and let nature take its course.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Such a sad shame. Just shows how precious life really is. Feel so sad for this pink little baby panda. But I do have hope that Shin Shin and Ri Ri can get it on again, they seem to have good chemistry so maybe we see new babies, but next time the Ueno Zoo etc..should be taking care of them 24/7, just in case.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So sad, poor service by Zoo Doctors, it is funny it died due to pneumonia in Summer ?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

as soon as they announced that they wanted to seperate the baby from the mother I thought bad idea. They say it was the milk but more like the huge trama from seperating a child from its mother. They cant admit that they caused the death.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Awwww RIP :(

0 ( +0 / -0 )

tokyokawasaki

When will ALL the selfish people realize that animals belong in the wild and not in cages for shallow entertainment.

Zoos are a necessary evil. For a majority of children (and adults) in urban areas, which is where much of the civilized human population lives, zoos are the only exposure they get to wild/non-domesticated animals and in a greater sense, nature. Get rid of zoos and soon you'll have generations growing up not knowing the joys of seeing/touching animals firsthand and eventually you'll have adults that don't give a damn about the environment and the animals in the wild.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Zoos are a necessary evil

That still does not mean it's ok to stick animals in small cages and think setting up tyres dangling on ropes will satisfy the monkeys. The zoos in this and many other countries are absolutely appalling. They're not even trying. If it's firsthand, then try safari. Singapore had a good one.

eventually you'll have adults that don't give a damn about the environment and the animals in the wild.

If more people gave a damn about animals, we wouldn't have factory farming.

It's a shame the baby panda died. I hope it's not a metaphor for Sino-Japanese relations.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Zoos are simply animal prisons where the "inmates" are all innocent.

This is sad news but I'd rather be in panda heaven than stuck in that hell-hole Ueno Zoo. It's a revolting place and if you care one inch about animals you would avoid it like the plague.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Man...another incompetent Japanese zoo? Ueno park is to blame for this; I hope they learn their lesson and provides a better habitat. Also, zoo's aren't inherently bad, provided they contribute to conservation efforts and research, like zoos in the US. The San Diego Zoo is a good example. It's huge, creates large habitats for animals, and helps with conservation.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

It was sad to see the baby panda being handled by the keepers bare handed. This would leave a scent on it that could possibly lead to rejection by the mother.Also mothers milk does contain certain anti biotic agents that give the growing cub partial immunity to infections, however Im sure the keepers would have been aware of this?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

While Japanese zoos are not the nicest by any means, anyone who has serious issues with zoo should read "The Life of Pi" It changed the way I saw them.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If pandas weren't cute, this wouldn't even be news.

Because they're endangered, every birth is celebrated and every premature death is mourned.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sad news, sorry to hear that. Raising a Panda in captivity is NOT an easy task, it is like walking on a tight rope. Quite a few died in the past and not to mention getting them to made is no walk in the park either, that alone is a serious monumental hit or miss as well. I know these people probably tried everything they could, but sadly these things can happen. And like Stephen said, a pandas first offspring often dies, tragic as it is, there is always hope that she'll give birth to another panda and usually the second, third time around it'll be ok, but to get to that point, they need to mate first and that will be the real crucial test. Let's hope they success, the next time around.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Zoos are a necessary evil. For a majority of children (and adults) in urban areas, which is where much of the civilized human population lives, zoos are the only exposure they get to wild/non-domesticated animals and in a greater sense, nature. Get rid of zoos and soon you'll have generations growing up not knowing the joys of seeing/touching animals firsthand and eventually you'll have adults that don't give a damn about the environment and the animals in the wild.

Wrong. Kids can learn how to respect animals without having to touch them and see them. How many kids have touched a whale (bad example here I know!), a shark... All up to society to raise kids aware of the environment and animals. Zoo, more so in Japan, tend to be disgusting where animals are abused. Places like Singapore, San Diego and Toronto do them well but they are rare.

Besides, kids can get a hamster.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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