Red panda at Woodland Park Zoo dies after health issues

by: KIRO 7 News Staff Updated:

A 10-year-old red panda at the Woodland Park Zoo died after health issues.

Woodland Park Zoo reports the median life expectancy for red pandas in zoos is 10 years; they can live up to eight years in the wild.

“Over the last two weeks, the geriatric red panda had shown signs of illness, including incontinence and apparent pain when moving, which progressed to a lack of appetite and reduced mobility. The zoo’s veterinary team anesthetized Stellar for a diagnostic exam which revealed anemia, electrolyte abnormalities and skin lesions. She was moved to the zoo’s veterinary hospital to receive supportive care but, despite this, she progressively worsened. On a second exam, her anemia was more severe and she had developed severe fluid accumulation in her chest which restricted her breathing. Due to the grave prognosis, the decision was made to humanely euthanize her,” the zoo announced in a news release.

Stellar, a 10-year-old, female red panda at Woodland Park Zoo, is shown receiving an ultrasound exam by a zookeeper and veterinary technician. Credit: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

“Stellar had a great personality and an adorable face that was hard to resist. She held a very special place in the hearts of her keepers and those in the community who had the pleasure of meeting her during special behind-the-scenes tours. It’s a very difficult loss for our staff and she’ll be missed very much.”

Three red pandas currently live at Woodland Park Zoo: 3-year-old Carson, 12-year-old Yukiko, and 1-year-old Hazel. Yukiko and Hazel live in off-view enclosures and will eventually be introduced to each other for breeding.

Red pandas share the name of giant pandas, but more closely resemble raccoons. While scientists still debate which family red pandas belong to, recent studies suggest they are equally related to three different groups of animals that include skunks, weasels and raccoons.


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