Beloved Akron Zoo red panda passes away


The Akron Zoo is mourning the loss of one of its red pandas, Penny. Penny passed away after a brief illness. Despite extensive treatments and supportive care, Penny’s health and quality of life continued to decline and the difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize her. 

Penny born on July 11, 2019 at the Kansas City Zoo and moved to Akron alongside her two sisters, Lulu and Coco, in October 2020 for the opening of the Akron Zoo’s new area, Lehner Family Foundation Wild Asia, which opened in May 2021.   

Penny, Lulu and Coco were stars in the zoo’s web series, Panda Palace, in 2021. The 20-episode series was viewed by more than four million people across five continents on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and 

“The Akron Zoo family is feeling Penny’s loss,” said Doug Piekarz, president & CEO at the Akron Zoo. “Through Panda Palace, Penny was able to connect with many people and educate on this endangered species and panda conservation. Guests visited the zoo specifically to see Penny and her sisters, making her an incredible celebrity ambassador for the zoo and her species. She will be deeply missed.” 

Red pandas are listed as endangered by IUCN Red List due to habitat loss and illegal hunting. The Akron Zoo partners with the Red Panda Network, a conservation organization that works with local people and communities to educate and build sustainable agricultural and grazing practices within a key rainforest corridor in Nepal, critical to the conservation of red pandas. 

Penny’s sister, Lulu, remains in the red panda habitat daily. The third sister, Coco, moved to the Philadelphia Zoo in summer 2022.