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Red Panda Dies At Sacramento Zoo

Mike Owyang / Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo's Red Panda - Jane - died in her sleep on Tuesday. Zoo officials say Jane was 19 and the oldest Red Panda in an American Zoo and Aquarium Assoc. program. The average life expectancy for Red Pandas in zoos is about 10 years.

Mike Owyang / Sacramento Zoo

One of the oldest Red Pandas in captivity has died at the Sacramento Zoo.

The average life expectancy for Red Pandas in zoos is about 10 years. Jane, the Red Panda that was found dead Wednesday morning, was nearly twice that age.

"She was 19 years old. So for...it'd be a very, very elderly person is what we're looking at. So she passed away over the night," says Leslie Field with the Sacramento Zoo.

Field says Jane was getting daily treatments for arthritis in her hips and knees. Despite that, Field says Jane was moving around on Tuesday.

"Actually she was very active on her last day," says Field. "We had been doing a lot of renovation in the exhibit over the last number of weeks. And she was exploring lots of new limbs and places for her to perch and explore and travel to."

She says Jane was well-loved by all the staff.

"Jane was a real character," says Field. "She was a real favorite in that she was inquisitive. She just had a really sort of sweet personality and was very curious about her surroundings."

The zoo still has two other Red Pandas on exhibit; a five-year-old female and an eight-year-old male. Red Pandas are endangered. They're small carnivores whose fur looks like the reddish-brown tree trunks of their native habitats in Eastern Asia. 

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Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the voice of Capital Public Radio News as anchor of Morning Edition and Insight. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music. Steve also produced stories for CapRadio.org.   Read Full Bio