14-year-old red panda at Henry Vilas Zoo humanely euthanized after cancer diagnosis

The Henry Vilas Zoo reveals its 14-year-old red panda, Tai, has been diagnosed with cancer.
The Henry Vilas Zoo reveals its 14-year-old red panda, Tai, has been diagnosed with cancer.(Henry Vilas Zoo via Facebook)
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 5:26 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A beloved red panda at the Henry Vilas Zoo, Tai, was humanely euthanized after Henry Vilas Zoo officials revealed last week that she was diagnosed with bone cancer. She was 14 years old and came to the zoo in 2012.

The Henry Vilas Zoo told the community about the Tai’s death on Facebook, noting one of the hardest parts about working with animals is the loss that comes with it.

“We are comforted by the fact that Tai lived a very long life and was surrounded by the humans who knew her the best at the time of her death,” the zoo wrote.

Henry Vilas Zoo officials explained that there isn’t much data on how to treat cancer in red pandas. It worked with its veterinary staff and the UW- Veterinary School-Oncology Department to come up with a plan for Tai, even hoping to provide chemotherapy to her.

Her condition ultimately did not improve and the zoo said “Tai’s behavior told us it was time.”

“Our goal is always to provide a good quality of life, not just quantity of years,” the zoo stated.

The zoo acknowledged that it’s been a hard year for them, as they have experienced multiple geriatric animal deaths. It is working with the Growing Resilience for Aquarium and Zoo Employees program, which helps provide emotional and mental health resources for its employees.

Rest in peace, Tai.