Image: Giant panda
Teh Eng Koon  /  AFP - Getty Images FILE
One of the Beijing Zoo's giant pandas is shown in 2008.
updated 7/6/2010 10:44:18 AM ET 2010-07-06T14:44:18

A panda at the Beijing Zoo accidentally crushed her new cub to death after abandoning its twin, Chinese state media said Tuesday.

The two female cubs were born Friday, but the mother nursed only one of them, the zoo's deputy president told the China Daily newspaper.

"Mother pandas are always like that," Zhang Jinguo said. "Twins are rare, and all mothers take only the first cub as their own."

The panda mom, named Yinghua, then accidentally crushed the other cub to death in a corner of her pen early Saturday when she going to nurse it.

"Pandas have poor eyesight. Yinghua apparently didn't see the cub," Zhang said.

Before the accident, zoo staff had been told to leave the panda and her cub alone unless help was needed.

Giant pandas are among the world's most endangered species. Some 1,600 pandas live in the wild, while more than 300 pandas are raised in captivity in China.

Zhang said it was the first such death of a panda cub at Beijing Zoo, which has seven giant pandas.

Tuesday's report said the abandoned cub has been taken to a research and breeding center in the southwestern province of Sichuan, where it was put in an incubator in intensive care. Researchers there were quoted saying the cub was in good health.

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