Red panda at Calgary Zoo dies after 'extremely' long life

A red panda, named Dusk, lived to be more than 18 years old at the Calgary Zoo.  (Submitted by Calgary Zoo - image credit)
A red panda, named Dusk, lived to be more than 18 years old at the Calgary Zoo. (Submitted by Calgary Zoo - image credit)

A red panda at the Calgary Zoo has died after living more than 18 years — nearly double the typical life expectancy for such an animal in human care.

Nicknamed Dusk, the male arrived in Calgary in 2013 from Winnipeg when he was nine 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," the Calgary Zoo said in a statement.

The red panda spent less time in public view recently as he needed specialized care and attention.

The animal spent much of its time in a private habitat where it could move at its own pace and "enjoy some quiet time away from the more rambunctious young ones in our pack."

The red panda was euthanized after a recent veterinary exam revealed a diagnosis that included progressive heart disease coupled with advanced kidney disease.

At 18½ years old, Dusk was "extremely geriatric" for its species, zoo officials said.

The median life expectancy for red pandas under human care is 10 years, the zoo said, attributing Dusk's "exceptionally advanced age" to the care it received over its lifetime.

The zoo said the red panda's legacy lives on through its offspring, including a female that's given birth to two "grandcubs" named Sundari and Ravi.