After watching the health of one of its red panda cubs deteriorate, Lee Richardson Zoo staff on Friday decided to euthanize the animal.
Zoo staff noted on Oct. 2 that the cub was losing weight and lagging substantially behind his two brothers. Staff planned supplemental feedings, but noticed on Oct. 3 that the cub's health had deteriorated to where he was weak and had a low body temperature. The cub was moved to the veterinary clinic for tube feeding and attention to a penial injury.
"We monitor the pandas with a camera system and were able to see that the cub was receiving care from his mother and appeared to be nursing, but was just not able to compete with his larger brothers for an adequate share of his mother’s milk supply," said Sarah Colman, general curator at the zoo. " ... Our initial plan was to offer the cub a bottle during the day to supplement the milk he was receiving from his mother so that he could remain with his mother and brothers. However, when we assessed him, we determined that medical intervention was needed and pulled him immediately to offer care."
Colman said the cub responded well initially to the feedings and care, but by Friday was unable to maintain a consistent body temperature and the penial injury made it difficult for him to urinate properly. At that point, zoo staff agreed euthanization was the right decision, she said. The cubs were born Aug. 12.