WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSNewYork) – The baby panda born last week at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. has died.

The giant panda cub was found dead Sunday morning after panda keepers her sounds of distress from its mother, Mei Xiang, zoo officials said.

The cub had been a surprise at the zoo. Fourteen-year-old Mei Xiang had five failed pregnancies before giving birth, and only one panda cub has survived at the zoo in the past.

The cause of death is unknown but zoo officials said the cub appeared to be in good condition and there were no outward signs of trauma or infection.

The cub had not yet been named in accordance with Chinese tradition. It was to receive a name after 100 days on Dec. 24.

When born, panda cubs are about the size of a stick of butter. Panda experts have said the first weeks of life are critical for the panda cubs as mothers have to make sure they stay warm and get enough to eat.

Experts said it is not uncommon for the panda moms to accidentally crush their young.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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