Red Panda, Xiao-Li, Dies at Binghamton Zoo

Published 01/09 2014 04:41PM

Updated 01/09 2014 05:01PM

What was supposed to be a news conference to announce the departure of the Binghamton Zoo's baby red panda, turned into a death announcement. Six year-old male red panda, Xiao-Li, died unexpectedly early Wednesday morning. The zoo is awaiting necropsy results from Cornell Veterinary College.

Xiao-Li was born in June 2008 at a Nashville, Tennessee zoo, and came to Binghamton in 2011. The Zoo was originally planning to announce today that Xiao's 6-month-old son, Zhin-Li, was going to be transported to a zoo in Erie, Pennsylvania, but that plan has been put on hold. Executive Director of the Ross Park Zoo, Steven Contento, says his workers are shocked by the panda's passing.

"We're certainly stunned and saddened and appreciate the thoughts and support we've already received and we'll keep the community informed as we receive new details. Loss is an unfortunate part of our profession, but knowing that doesn't even make this any easier," said Contento.

Xiao did have some medical issues in the past. The Red Panda is an endangered species. There are only 175 of them in captivity. Typically, red pandas live about 13 years.

On a lighter note, Xiao-Li was an avid painter and some of his artwork is actually displayed at the zoo. The Red Panda exhibit is one of the most popular exhibits at Ross Park.

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