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Giant Panda Cub at National Zoo Recuperating After Emergency Surgery

  • VOA News

FILE - One-year-old giant panda cub Bei Bei takes a peek out of his cage at the National Zoo in Washington, Aug. 20, 2016. Bei Bei is now recovering after emergency intestinal surgery.

FILE - One-year-old giant panda cub Bei Bei takes a peek out of his cage at the National Zoo in Washington, Aug. 20, 2016. Bei Bei is now recovering after emergency intestinal surgery.

Giant panda cub Bei Bei is recovering after undergoing emergency surgery Friday to remove a "lemon-sized mass of bamboo" lodged in his small intestine, National Zoo officials said in Washington.

"Lifesaving" surgery was performed after the 1-year-old male panda began showing signs of stomach discomfort and nausea on Thursday, officials said.

Veterinarians found a dense, masticated mass of bamboo during an ultrasound of the panda Friday morning. A volunteer veterinary surgeon then removed it during an operation.

"Bei Bei's prognosis is very good," zoo director Dennis Kelly said in a statement Friday.

The 15-month-old, 90-pound panda is being housed separately from his mother, Mei Xiang, while he recuperates, zoo officials said.

Until he heals, Bei Bei will be given soft foods, such as sweet potatoes and pears. When bamboo, a giant panda's favorite food, is finally returned to his diet, "it will be finely cut leaves," the zoo statement said.

Bei Bei, which means "precious," will not appear on the zoo's live panda cam video footage on the zoo's website until he feels better.

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