POWELL, Ohio — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is honoring the life of one of its beloved red pandas. Eleven-year-old Rinzen passed away unexpectedly on April 7.
Staff members found the red panda unresponsive a couple of hours after his initial exam recovery.
The zoo said while a routine exam did not show any abnormalities, a postmortem exam suggested that heart disease may have been involved in his death.
Rinzen was just shy of a year old when he arrived at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in the spring of 2012. He was the youngest among the red pandas when the Asia Quest region opened.
The zoo said Rinzen was the first red panda to climb to the top of the trees in the red panda habitat. Caretakers also learned how active, curious and adventurous a cub could be.
The zoo added that Rinzen enjoyed previously frozen and slightly mushy blueberries and even drank the leftover blueberry juice from the cup.
The red panda produced three litters of cubs and was a great companion to the females, according to zoo officials. Rinzen could be shy around people but gained more confidence when he had a friend.