Category: Science / September 24, 2012 2:35 PM EDT
Officials at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington mourned the death of the giant panda cub born last week.
The panda cub born at the National Zoo just one week ago died on Sunday (September 23).
Zoo officials mourned the loss on Monday (September 24), and pledged to investigate the cause of death with the goal of preventing future infant panda deaths.
"We have to learn from this tragedy and hopefully we will get a better understanding of giant panda reproduction and cub health as a result," Smithsonian National Zoo Director Dennis Kellytold reporters.
While the exact cause of the baby panda's death is yet to be determined, zoo officials said the cub, believed to be female, weighed just under 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces), was in good body condition and that there were no outward signs of trauma or infection.
Dr. Suzan Murray, the Chief Veterinarian at the National Zoo, told reporters on Monday the cub had fluid in its abdomen and a potentially abnormal liver. Zoo officials expect the necropsy to be complete in approximately two weeks.
Murray added, "If we can determine what caused this death then we will be able to prevent future deaths in the future, and it will help us, not only take care of our pandas here in captivity, but worldwide."
The cub's death was discovered Sunday morning after panda keepers and zoo volunteers heard a distress call from its mother, Mei Xiang.
The unnamed cub was born on September 16 after five years of failed efforts at conception.
This was Mei Xiang's second cub. She gave birth to her first cub, Tai Shan, July 9, 2005.