WASHINGTON — 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 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)