UPDATE: First mother red panda at Chattanooga Zoo dies unexpecte - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: First mother red panda at Chattanooga Zoo dies unexpectedly

Posted: Updated:
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Maina, the 3-year-old red panda at the Chattanooga Zoo, has died and zookeepers are concerned about her two baby cubs.

Darde Long, Chattanooga Zoo Director/CEO said an employee found the red panda unresponsive over the weekend and brought her to the animal hospital.

"He had found her in the exhibit completely unresponsive with no signs of life," Long said, "The initial report from UT is completely inconclusive, there's nothing that showed up like there was a massive heart attack or something like that and her health was excellent."

Maina's cause of death is unclear. Her body has now been transported to the UT Veterinary College for examination. It could take two months until a full necropsy examination is complete.

Maina gave birth to two baby cubs just three months ago and the two boys haven't been weaned from their mother.

"You know to be honest we could lose them, because of the change in nutrition, they're going to have some challenges coming up," Long said.

The cubs weren't set to be fully weaned for another two months and are now being fed a mashed biscuit diet by hand. The cubs don't have names yet and at this age normally wouldn't be held at all, so it's challenging to get them into their feeding bag.    

But in a way, this unexpected parenting is keeping the employees in high spirits.

"And honestly it's like a godsend because it makes us focus on the babies and you can't dwell as much on what's happened," Long said.

Long said Maina loved meeting zoo guests and munching on grapes, and she was a great mother and loving companion to Wyatt the red panda. Maina came to the Tennessee Valley two years ago from Oklahoma City as part of the Species Survival Plan. She is survived by the zoo's two adult red pandas, Wyatt and Ruth, and her two unnamed male cubs. 

  • NewsMore>>

  • Admirers line streets, overpasses to see Graham's motorcade

    Admirers line streets, overpasses to see Graham's motorcade

    Saturday, February 24 2018 3:09 PM EST2018-02-24 20:09:39 GMT
    (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File). FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2010 file photo, evangelist Billy Graham, 92, speaks during an interview at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. Graham, who died Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, at h...(AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File). FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2010 file photo, evangelist Billy Graham, 92, speaks during an interview at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. Graham, who died Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, at h...
    The Rev. Billy Graham's body will be brought to his hometown of Charlotte on Saturday as part of a procession expected to draw crowds of well-wishers.More
    The Rev. Billy Graham's body will be brought to his hometown of Charlotte on Saturday as part of a procession expected to draw crowds of well-wishers.More
  • Lady Vols seniors Nared, Russell enjoy leading young roster

    Lady Vols seniors Nared, Russell enjoy leading young roster

    Saturday, February 24 2018 3:08 PM EST2018-02-24 20:08:03 GMT
    (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File). File-This March 25, 2016, file photo shows Tennessee's Mercedes Russell, left, and Jaime Nared celebrating a foul against their team as Ohio State's Alexa Hart (22) walks past, during a women's college basketball regional ...(AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File). File-This March 25, 2016, file photo shows Tennessee's Mercedes Russell, left, and Jaime Nared celebrating a foul against their team as Ohio State's Alexa Hart (22) walks past, during a women's college basketball regional ...
    Tennessee seniors Jaime Nared, Mercedes Russell lead Lady Vols on scoreboard and in locker room.More
    Tennessee seniors Jaime Nared, Mercedes Russell lead Lady Vols on scoreboard and in locker room.More
  • Trump says arming teachers in schools 'Up to States'

    Trump says arming teachers in schools 'Up to States'

    Saturday, February 24 2018 3:03 PM EST2018-02-24 20:03:41 GMT
    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster). From left, President Donald Trump, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student students Carson Abt, and Ariana Klein, listen as Carson's father Frederick Abt, speaks during a listening session with high school students, teac...(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster). From left, President Donald Trump, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student students Carson Abt, and Ariana Klein, listen as Carson's father Frederick Abt, speaks during a listening session with high school students, teac...
    President Donald Trump says arming teachers as a deterrent against school shootings is "Up to States.".More
    President Donald Trump says arming teachers as a deterrent against school shootings is "Up to States.".More
Powered by Frankly