Thursday, July 5, 2007

Rare red panda dies at Sacramento Zoo

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Harold the red panda, a raccoon-like critter with a mellow personality, has died at the Sacramento Zoo from an infection.

One week shy of his 17th birthday, Harold was the oldest male red panda in captivity, officials said. He came to the Sacramento Zoo in May 2003 from the Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke, Va., and was primarily a companion for another older red panda, Jane, in an off-exhibit area. Red pandas typically live up to 13 years in captivity and are an endangered species from the highlands of eastern Asia.

Harold had been receiving medication for chronic arthritis but otherwise was in good health for his age, zoo officials said.

Zoo officials say Harold died from an infection near his hip that likely started from "urine scald" -- urinating on his fur that burned his skin. The wound led to septic shock, and he died June 28.

According to National Zoo officials in Washington, there are fewer than 2,500 red pandas in the world.

Source : shns via wn




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