National Zoo Mourns The Loss of Its Surprise Panda Cub

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 25 2012 9:42 AM

"We Were Living The Promise ... of All These Years To Come"

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Tian Tian, the male giant panda at the National Zoo, moves around in his outdoor enclosure on Monday, the day after the death of a six-day-old panda cub

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

The Washington Post has a rather heartbreaking look at how the National Zoo community is holding up in the wake of the unexpected death of its six-day-old giant panda cub on Sunday.

Here's a snippet:

People hugged and wept. And for a few moments Sunday morning in the quiet of the panda house, the animal’s body, outwardly perfect, was left on the blanket so the staff could grieve. ...
"We were living the promise," Brandie Smith, panda curator, said at the zoo, her eyes filling with tears. "The promise of all these years to come, and how amazing it was going to be. ... Part of it is . . . the loss of this animal, but it’s also the loss of all that wonder that we were about to be a part of," she said. "How much fun we were all going to have."
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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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