Second red panda triplet dies at suburban Philadelphia zoo

Written by The Associated Press | Jan 6, 2017 9:25 AM

FILE PHOTO: A Red Panda rests at the Philadelphia Zoo. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Norristown) -- A second red panda triplet has died at a suburban Philadelphia zoo, and officials are examining the surviving triplet to ensure he's healthy.

The Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown says Shredder, a 2-year-old male, died Wednesday. A necropsy found an enlarged heart and thickened heart walls, which are signs of heart disease.

A sibling, Clinger, died in December 2015 from encephalitis caused by a brain parasite.

The panda triplets came to the zoo in the spring of 2015 from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

Dr. Adam Denish, the zoo's veterinarian, says research from other U.S. zoos suggests heart disease can be a common cause of death among younger red pandas.

That's why zoo officials plan an echocardiogram to determine whether the surviving triplet, Slash, has a healthy heart.

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