UTICA, N.Y. -- One of the red pandas at the Utica Zoo died suddenly Monday after showing no recent signs of illness or distress.
The panda, Ming Yue, shared an exhibit at the zoo with her mate, Muse, and had two cubs in 2019, Xiaobo and Mei Lin.
Executive Director Andria Heath says the staff was shocked by Ming Yue’s unexpected death.
“This is an unexpected tragedy for all of us, and we recognize the impact this has on our visitors and the community at large,” adds Heath. “Please keep our staff in your thoughts. Every team member loves the animals we care for, and any loss is a difficult one.”
The Cornell University veterinary team is examining the cause of death and performing a necropsy, but results may not be available immediately, according to Heath.
Ming Yue was born in 2013 at the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn and came to the Utica Zoo in 2014.
Red pandas are classified as endangered species.