Employees at zoos spend so much of their day with the animals that they become like friends and family to them. They celebrate when a new baby is born and grieve when one of their animals passes away.
Now, the staff at the Memphis Zoo is mourning the loss of an animal they said was beautiful inside and out: a red panda named Xing.
“We are saddened to announce that Xing, our red panda in China, was euthanized due to a rapidly progressive, irreversible neurological condition,” the zoo wrote.
They explained that Xing had a “rapidly progressive/ irreversible neurological disorder” and had to be euthanized.
That sad development broke the hearts of Xing’s handlers, who described him as “exceptionally handsome” with a shy personality.
“He wanted to be sure you were deserving of his trust,” recalled a zookeeper named Susan. “I can’t even describe how thrilled I was the first time Xing came down from the trees to train with me.”
It’s also a sad loss because red pandas are an endangered species. Each of their lives matter, but Xing was believed to be especially important.
“Xing’s death is a significant loss for all of us here at Memphis Zoo, as well as the red panda population as he was a genetically valuable animal,” the zoo wrote on Facebook.
Rest in peace to this beautiful animal! Our hearts go out to everyone who loved him 💔