STAFF at Drusillas are mourning the sudden and unexpected death of their female red panda, Qiu.
Qiu arrived from Les Sables Zoo in France in September and was completing the required six months in quarantine in an enclosure behind the scenes at the zoo.
She appeared in good health and on the days leading up to her death this month she was observed by keepers as playful, active and demonstrating a good appetite.
The subsequent post-mortem, including a further tissue examination, has failed to determine a cause leaving the zoo at a loss as to the reason for the tragedy.
Zoo director Laurence Smith said, “We are incredibly sad for the loss of our beautiful red panda. In the short time that she was with us, Qiu proved to be a sweet natured, friendly animal who was very inquisitive.
“The unexpected and unexplained nature of her departure has been a real shock to the whole zoo. She will be missed.”