Little Red, the seven-week old red panda cub born at Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo, has died.
“It’s with heavy hearts that we’re sharing the news that Little Red passed away over the weekend. Our little red panda cub had been battling pneumonia along with other health challenges for several weeks,” the zoo stated on its Facebook page on Monday morning.
“We’d like to thank everyone for their messages of support for Little Red over the past few weeks. Our dedicated veterinary care team did everything in their power to help the little guy. Please help us in sharing your condolences with Little Red’s immediate care team.”
Staff at the zoo had been hand rearing Little Red since shortly after he was born on July 8.
Its mom, Sachi, did not show any maternal interest and after observing for a brief time, staff determined it was unlikely the newborn would survive if veterinary intervention did not occur.
The zoo used social media to post images and videos of Little Red’s progress and on Aug. 1 reported he was taking well to bottle feeding and growing quickly.
But just four days later, it was announced he developed an aspiration pneumonia.
The posting asked people to send love and best wishes.
Little Red was given around-the-clock oxygen treatment, along with anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics to target infections in the lungs.
The feeding also shifted from bottle to tube while he battled the sickness.
After seeing some encouraging signs, including Little Red opening his eyes for the first time around Aug. 11, things took a bad turn and the pneumonia resurfaced.
Red pandas are an endangered species and the mammal’s numbers in their eastern Himalayan natural habitat have declined more than 50 per cent over the last three generations, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The Winnipeg zoo is part of an international effort to boost the world’s population of red pandas through a breeding program run by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
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