Red panda


Farewell to an Old Friend

January 16, 2023 | 2 minute read

It is with heavy hearts that we share that last week we said goodbye to our beloved senior male red panda, ‘Dusk’. At 18.5 years old, Dusk was extremely geriatric for his species. He had been receiving supportive care from the Animal Care, Health & Welfare (ACHW) team for a range of age-related health concerns including progressive degenerative arthritis and chronic dental disease. After a recent veterinary exam revealed progressive heart disease coupled with advanced kidney disease that was compromising his welfare, the ACHW team made the difficult but compassionate decision to euthanize him.

Born in 2004 in Winnipeg, Dusk joined the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo family in 2013 when he was 9 years old. During his lifetime, Dusk was a “conservation superstar” having successfully sired six cubs as part of the Red Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP), including our three-year-old female, ‘Udaya’. As the years passed by, Dusk’s caregivers recognized that he needed some specialized care and attention. Dusk spent much of his golden years behind the scenes in his private habitat where he could move at his own pace and enjoy some quiet time away from the more rambunctious young ones in our pack. He will be fondly remembered for his mild-mannered nature.

The median life expectancy for red pandas under human care is 10 years. At nearly 19 years of age, Dusk’s exceptionally advanced age is a testament to the incredible care he received from his care team throughout his lifetime. He will be dearly missed by zoo staff, volunteers, and visitors alike but his legacy lives on at the zoo through his daughter, Udaya, and his grandcubs, ‘Sundari’ and ‘Ravi’. Please keep the Animal Care, Health & Welfare team in your thoughts during this difficult time.

Red panda

Red panda ‘Dusk’