Greater Vancouver Zoo
GVZOO on Facebook
GVZOO on Twitter
GVZOO on Youtube
GVZOO on Pinterest
GVZOO on Google Plus

HOURS: 9:00AM-7:00PM

Stacks Image 19941

Unexpected loss of Red Panda

August 22, 2015


Aldergrove – It has been an extremely sad and difficult week at the Greater Vancouver Zoo, as Rakesh, one of our male red pandas died unexpectedly on Monday.

A full necropsy was performed on Rakesh by an independent veterinary pathologist with the BC Animal Health Centre. The results have confirmed that this is a case of pulmonary Blastomycosis. Blastomycosis is a disease caused by a fungus found in decaying organic matter such as wood and leaves.Most cases are caused by inhalation of these fungal spores from a soil source.

As the animals were immediately quarantined – as required by AZA and CAZA protocols – and this disease does not typically occur in British Columbia it is most likely that Rakesh was infected before leaving Manitoba. Further confirmatory tests are being conducted by the BC Center Center for Disease Control.

Rakesh and his sibling Arun arrived from the Assiniboine Zoo in Winnipeg just over two months ago as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival program (SSP). The SSP program helps the survival of species that are threatened or endangered in the wild by maintaining genetic diversity through managed breeding programs. 

As required under AZA and CAZA protocols, Rakesh and Arun were immediately quarantined upon their arrival. GVZ's new quarantine facility provides a safe environment for animals awaiting introduction into the zoo population and did not have any exposure to any soil source since arrival. 

Red Pandas are listed as Endangered as the population is estimated at less than 10,000 individuals, with a continuing decline of greater than 10 percent over the next 3 generations (estimated at 30 years) due to poaching and habitat loss.

It had taken over two years for the Greater Vancouver Zoo to qualify for participation in the SSP for Red Pandas. Through population management and conservation efforts such as public education, research, reintroduction and field conservation programs that are supported by the SSP program we can assure a sustainable future for animals that are currently being threatened in the wild.

The care of Arun is our top priority right now and as a precaution, he is treated by our veterinarian with medication while further tests are conducted.

The Greater Vancouver Zoo has been working with the Assiniboine Zoo, SSP Veterinary Advisor, and all other zoos in Canada and US that currently had red pandas to communicate all findings, understand the circumstances of Rakesh's infection and ensure we all have a healthy population of pandas. 


Media Contact:

Jody Henderson
General Manager


WOW 45 years – that is pretty darn amazing!!!Please come share in our celebration – all activities will be taking place in our main picnic area which is in the centre of the Zoo across from the baboons and jaguar. 

ACTIVITIES ARE FROM 10 AM - 3 PM - August 22nd

Fun stuff includes face painting, finger painting & coloring contest, scavenger hunt, bouncy castle, obstacle course, and a giant slide.  Children performers "Flying Rita" with Suzanne & Dale from 11 - 12 pm!!  And BBQ starts at 11:30 am!!

Did you say CAKE!!!Of course wouldn’t be a party without the cake - cake will be at noon.

Come meet Fluffy the Emu!

Meet Fluffy, our elderly and exciting emu! He’s 44 years old, and possibly the oldest living emu. Fluffy likes to stand in his sprinkler on hot days (he looks like a dripping mop on legs, but he clearly enjoys it!). He also likes to sit in his favourite spot at the front of the zoo and watch everyone walking by.

Fluffy is at the front of the zoo on his own, as he doesn't get along with the other emu's and much prefers being in his own enclosure and loves the people coming by to say hello!

Because he is a male emu, he makes a low rumbling, grunting noise when he visits with new people. We can tell emu genders apart by the noises they make: females make a noise that sounds like a drum instead of a rumble.

By: Nicole, Greater Vancouver Zoo

Jr. ZOOLOGIST SUMMER CAMPS - July & August dates

Through exposure to nature, we hope to increase children's empathy and understanding for conservation while having fun and meeting some new friends. For children aged 7 - 12 years.

Our theme for this year’s camps is Biodiversity is US. Each day focusing on different types of animals and will include a walking safari to see the animals we will be focusing on for that day, train ride, educational crafts, games and activities. And more camps in the month of August for the week of August 24th – 28th.

For more details on the daily topic please click here and to register, complete and return the attached registration form. If you do have any questions please call 604.856.6825 ext 26 or email at

Registration is offered on a first-come, first served basis as space is limited.


Come celebrate Canada's 148th birthday with us!!  You can see all the native Canadian animal species that live at the zoo. Participate in some Canadian old-fashioned games and a scavenger hunt from 10 am - 2 pm!

Did someone say CAKE - YES we serve up some pretty delicious cake at 12:30 pm at the front Zoo map near the entrance - but don't be late as it does not last too long.

Show more posts