The family at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is saddened to announce the passing of Meri, a seven-year-old female Red panda, on Monday, July 27. The Zoo’s animal care team found that she had passed away in her sleep during the night, with no obvious signs of distress. A post-mortem necropsy showed that the cause was a cardiac condition.
The Zoo sent out this notice today: Born on June 27, 2013, at the Detroit Zoo, Meri came to Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo on January 11, 2018, from the Brandywine Zoo in Wilmington, Delaware. She was named for Meriadoc Brandybuck, a character in J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings. She was a beloved member of the Zoo family.
“Meri will be deeply missed by all of us here at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “She had a unique personality and related well both to her companion, Rochan and to her animal care staff. It has been our privilege to have known her for the past two years.
The Zoo remains home to Rochan, a six-year-old male Red panda who has been part of the Zoo family since October 2015. The Natt Family Red Panda Habitat opened in October 2018, a gift from Bob and Helen Natt of Easton, also funded by monies raised by supporters and from the Werth Family Foundation.
The Red panda habitat offers indoor and outdoor viewing access for the Red pandas with air-conditioned indoor living quarters and a yard landscaped with bamboo and plenty of treetop spots for sunbathing.
Rochan and Meri were part of the Species Survival Program (SSP), a breeding and management program designed to preserve the long-term sustainability of captive-based animal populations. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo will work with the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA) Species Survival Plan to identify another female Red panda as a new companion for Rochan.