UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The Utica Zoo is saddened to report that one of their ‘beloved’ Red Pandas has passed away unexpectedly.

On Monday October 11th, Red Panda Ming Yue, seemed to be in good health and was showing no signs of having any illnesess or of being in distress of any kind, suddenly died for unknown reasons.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share the very sudden news of Ming Yue’s passing. The Cornell veterinary team is examining the cause, and it is customary for us to not receive the results immediately.” – Andria Heath, Utica Zoo Executive Director

The exhibits Red Panda family consisted of only Ming Yue and her mate, Muse. Ming Yue was born at the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn in 2013 and came to the Utica Zoo in 2014. The two Red Pandas have been a featured and recognized attraction at the Zoo for many years and have raised two groups of cubs during that time. Their loss will be felt throughout the facility and community.

“This is an unexpected tragedy for all of us, and we recognize the impact this has on our visitors and the community at large,” adds Heath. “Please keep our staff in your thoughts. Every team member loves the animals we care for, and any loss is a difficult one.”

The Utica Zoo says that it will continue to its work with the Red Pandas and help reverse its status as an ‘Endangered Species’. Muse will remain on exhibit for the time being.