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Ocean Park Announces Loss of Red Panda Li Zi

2013-06-15

Ocean Park is saddened to announce the loss of a five-year-old female Red Panda, Li Zi today, 15 June. Li Zi was in the back of house eating bamboo at around noon time when she collapsed. The animal care team and the veterinary team attended to her immediately, but found that she was dead.

A necropsy was conducted today but was inconclusive as to the cause of death.  There are few lesions present, including cardiac, thoracic and brain anomalies but it is not possible to link the exact cause of death to these visible lesions with the initial examination. Further laboratory tests and histopathology results are pending and will provide more information to the cause of death.
 
 “Sadly in cases like these where death is sudden, gross lesions have no time to develop.  However, blood clots in the brain and a sudden heart failure are suggested by the initial findings.  Hopefully, laboratory and histopathology reports will shed light on this most unexpected fatality." said the Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Paolo Martelli who led the team conducting the necropsy. The cultures and histopathology may take up to one month for the results.

Li Zi arrived at Ocean Park from the Chengdu Research Base of Panda Breeding Base together with three other Red Pandas named Tai Shan, Rou Rou and Chong Chong in March 2009. After arrival, Lutzi settled down at Amazing Asian Animals, which comprises eight world-class animal exhibits and is home to the four red pandas, giant pandas, Ying Ying and Le Le, several Chinese alligators, Chinese salamanders, Asian small-clawed otters and a variety of goldfish. In the meantime, the remaining red pandas,  Tai Shan, Rou Rou and Chong Chong, are bright, alert and responsive.  The team will monitor them closely until more is learned regarding Li Zi’s sudden death.

 “We will miss Li Zi immensely. She has been with Ocean Park for over four years, and has been one of our important education ambassadors to help convey conservation messages to millions of our visitors annually. She was adorable and very deeply loved.” said Ms. Suzanne Gendron, Executive Director of Zoological Operations and Education.

The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the Chengdu Research Base of Panda Breeding Base, Sichuan Forestry Departments and State Forestry Administration were notified of the incident immediately.

Dr. Lan Jing Chao, the director of the Veterinary Hospital at the Chengdu Research Base of Panda Breeding said, “We were immediately informed by Ocean Park of the situation with Li Zi and will offer our support as necessary.  We are saddened to hear of the death of the red panda, but know that Ocean Park has employed excellent husbandry skills in caring for the animals and they extended every possible effort to respond to the animal.  We will continue to work with Ocean Park on the cause of death and offer any support that may be necessary.”