GARDEN CITY, Kansas – Firecracker, a 23-year-old red panda at the Lee Richardson Zoo, was euthanized by veterinary care staff Tuesday due to severe arthritis and declining condition related to his advanced age.
Firecracker was born back in July 1991 and reached an age of 23 years 4 months, establishing a new North American longevity record for male red pandas (previously 19 years 4 months) and far exceeding the median life expectancy which is 10.7 years.
Firecracker came to the zoo in May of 2000 from National Zoo, and for 14 years welcomed visitors as they entered into the “Wild Asia” area of Lee Richardson Zoo.
Three red pandas: Charlie, Hamlet, and Ember, currently reside in two of the exhibits in Wild Asia at Lee Richardson Zoo.
In the wild, red pandas are solitary and are found from Nepal to Burma, and into Central China.