Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team
Date: October 28, 2021 12:15 pm
Woodland Park Zoo have farewelled Yukiko, an elderly red panda following a short battle with cardiac issues
Photo Credit: Woodland Park Zoo
The Woodland Park Zoo have announced that their beloved red panda, Yukiko was humanely euthanized during a routine exam to look at cardiac issues related to his advanced age.
An average red panda in zoos will live for 10 years so at 16 years old Yukiko had well and truly exceeded his expected lifespan.
Unfortunately Yukiko had recently been diagnosed with severe heart disease and vets were closely monitoring his condition. Over recent days Yukiko had been refusing food and medicine.
A veterinary cardiologist was brought in to better define his heart condition. This exam determined that he was experiencing hear failure due to advanced cardiomyopathy and due to this poor prognosis it was decided to proceed with human euthanasia.
Keepers had been managing age related illnesses in Yukiko for a number of years. These include minor changes in his spine which were noticed through a decline in mobility around the enclosure.
Vets had created a physical rehabilitation program for him which including a strength-building balance platform, massage and laser therapy.
“Yukiko’s quality of life vastly improved from the treatment regime and the strong foundation in training by our animal keepers. He was such a great patient to work with from the beginning,” said Dr. Tim Storms, Woodland Park Zoo’s interim Director of Animal Health.
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Yukiko was born in Japan at the Saitama Children's Zoo and originally moved to the United States to live at the Red River Zoo. In 2014 he made the move to Woodland Park Zoo as part of the breeding program for his species.
Over his lifetime he fathered 11 cubs, four at Woodland Park Zoo and seven at his former home.
“Yukiko’s cubs brought so much joy and countless smiles to zoo-goers and communities locally and around the world. Many people didn’t know what red pandas were until they connected with his bouncy cubs at the zoo or on social media,” said Mark Myers, an animal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “Yukiko’s cubs moved many people to discover the world of red pandas. This is a difficult time for our staff and Yukiko will be missed.”
As is standard at Woodland Park Zoo the animal health team will perform a necropsy (an animal autopsy) which will determine if if any other conditions will contribute to Yukiko's decline. The results of this exam will be shared with colleagues nationally to help advance understanding of medical care for this species.
Woodland Park Zoo remain the home of two red pandas, a 7 year old male in the zoo's Temperate Forest habitat and a 1 year old male who is currently held off-display.