Utica Zoo Mourns the Loss of Red Panda

UTICA – The Utica Zoo is mourning the unexpected loss of one of its beloved red pandas, Ming Yue, on Monday, October 11.

The female red panda showed no signs of illness or distress leading up to Monday. Zoo officials do not yet have a cause of death. A necropsy is being performed at Cornell University.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share the very sudden news of Ming Yue’s passing,” said Utica Zoo Executive Director Andria Heath. “The Cornell veterinary team is examining the cause, and it is customary for us to not receive the results immediately.”

“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.”

Ming Yue was one of two red pandas on exhibit at the Zoo. She was born in 2013 at Prospect Park Zoo, Brooklyn and came to the Utica Zoo in 2014 on loan through Assiniboine Park Zoo, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  She and her mate, Muse, have had two groups of cubs including Xiaobo and Mei Lin in 2019. Muse was born in 2011 and came the Utica Zoo from Red River Valley Zoo in 2012. Muse remains on exhibit.

Red pandas are currently classified as an endangered species, and the Utica Zoo works closely with the Red Panda Species Survival Plan to reverse this perilous trend.

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Due to needing time to set up for our Wine in the Wilderness Event, on June 3rd the zoo will be closing to the public at 1pm! We will reopen our doors at 6pm for the event! Event tickets will still be purchasable at our gift shop during this time!