published Thursday, February 9th, 2012

One red panda dies at Chattanooga Zoo, another is very ill

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    Nigalya, a 10-year-old male red panda at the Chattanooga Zoo, chews on an apple piece after “exercising” it from a two-liter bottle in this file photo.
    Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

One of the red pandas at the Chattanooga Zoo has died, zoo officials say.

Bella, the zoo’s female red panda, died recently after fighting a skin infection for more than a year, according to a statement from Robin Derryberry, the zoo’s PR spokeswoman. Bella was 11 years old, which zoo officials say is past pandas’ average lifespan of eight to 10 years.

Butch, the zoo’s 16-year-old male red panda, also is ill, suffering from excess fluid around his lungs, the statement said.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

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