Baby giant panda born in Tokyo zoo dies

Updated: 2012-07-11 16:31


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TOKYO - The baby giant panda born at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo last week died of pneumonia on Wednesday morning, officials with the zoo said.

A zookeeper found the baby, born on last Thursday, lying on its back against its mother Shin Shin's chest around 7:30 am, without breathing. The officials confirmed its death about one hour later.

The male baby's birth marked the first panda born at the zoo in about 24 years and was widely celebrated last week.

Shin Shin and her mate Ri Ri were brought to Tokyo in last February. They became the zoo's first pandas since the 2008 death of Ling Ling.  

Named as Xian Nu and Bi Li in Chinese before they got the current Japanese names, the pair are in Tokyo for a 10-year stay under a joint research agreement on the endangered species.  

The pair, a major attraction for the zoo, had survived the catastrophic March 11 earthquake in 2011.