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National Zoo To Reveal Cause Of Panda Cub Death

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Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Zoo is set to reveal what killed a 6-day-old giant panda cub.

The zoo will disclose the cause of death 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 necropsy results on Thursday.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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