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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Roger Williams Park Zoo is mourning the loss of its second red panda in less than a year.
The zoo announced that Rusty, the oldest red panda in any Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institution, passed away Friday.
Rusty, 18, was suffering from inoperable gastrointestinal disease and arthritis, according to the zoo.
“Rusty stole the hearts of countless visitors and will forever leave his mark on the hearts of those who cared for him,” the zoo wrote in a social media post Saturday morning. “He will be deeply missed.”
This comes eight months after the zoo lost Rusty’s mate Sha-Lei, who died of heart failure.
The zoo welcomed a 3-year-old red panda named Zan from Washington last month. Zan will eventually move into a newly-constructed habitat, which is expected to open sometime next spring.
It’s unclear whether the zoo plans on taking in another red panda to accompany Zan at this time.
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