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Baby panda adopted by house cat dies: zoo

Red pandas, which are only slightly larger than domestic cats, are an endangered species found mostly in the eastern Himalayas. Many zoos worldwide have breeding programmes as only about 2,500 red pandas remain in the wild today.
by Staff Writers
The Hague (AFP) July 18, 2008
A baby panda adopted by a domestic cat at Amsterdam's Artis zoo has died after choking on the milk of its foster mother, the zoo said Friday.

"The little one was discovered lifeless on Thursday morning," it said in a statement.

"A post-mortem revealed that its windpipe was filled with milk. It had choked to death."

The red panda cub was born on June 30, but was rejected by its own mother along with a sibling who died soon thereafter.

It was adopted by a zoo employee's pet cat who suckled the newborn with its own four kittens.

"The cat had just had kittens and accepted the baby panda as a foster child," said the zoo statement.

"As far as we know, this was the first time that a cat has adopted a baby panda."

Red pandas, which are only slightly larger than domestic cats, are an endangered species found mostly in the eastern Himalayas. Many zoos worldwide have breeding programmes as only about 2,500 red pandas remain in the wild today.

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