SOUTH BEND — Potawatomi Zoo is mourning the loss of one of its pandas.
"Rose," a female red panda, died Nov. 27 inside her exhibit at the zoo, according to a news release. The cause of death is unknown.
The zoo reportedly treated the 9-year-old red panda for infection, dehydration, and possible kidney disease in June, but she had recently been in good health.
The zoo is hopeful a necropsy, or animal autopsy, and subsequent tissue examination will shed light on the cause of her death.
"Rose was a wonderful resident of the Potawatomi Zoo and will be missed by zoo staff and visitors," the release states.
A threatened species, the red panda is an arboreal mammal native to parts of the Himalayas and China. It has red and brown fur and a long, shaggy tail.
According to spokeswoman Marcy Dean, the zoo is in the process of acquiring another female red panda for Ty, its male red panda.
"We have contacted the species survival program, and they know we lost a female," she said, "so eventually we will have another female, it's just going to be a while."
In the meantime, Ty appears to be coping well, staff veterinarian Brian Stockinger said.
"Right now he seems to be going about his business as usual," he said, noting that, outside of mating season, red pandas tend to be solitary animals.
He said he expects the 10-year-old to produce more cubs in the future.
"He's been a good breeder in the past," he said. "So if we get a viable female … I'd be pretty optimistic about that."
Staff writer Erin Blasko: