Toronto Zoo's Red Panda Cub Dies After Receiving Covid-19 Vaccine? Speculation on Social Media After Death of 3-Month-Old Dash

Speculations about the death of a red panda cub at Toronto Zoo due to Covid-19 vaccine have been circulating on social media. However, the rumors are found to be partially untrue.

Ever since the Covid-19 vaccines were rolled out following months of research during the pandemic, it has been embroiled in controversies propagated by the anti-vaxxers.

t A red panda cub named Dash has died at The Toronto Zoo. Twitter

What is Being Claimed?

In a post made on their Facebook page, The Toronto Zoo described in detail about the death of red panda cub, Dash. Claiming that the cub showed no signs of illness at the beginning and end-of-day check-ins the authorities said, "On Sunday morning, Wildlife Care staff heard the cub vocalizing and then found him lying on his side and extremely weak."

"He was rushed to the Wildlife Health Centre (WHC) for immediate treatment by our veterinary team where he was put on oxygen, administered fluids, given antibiotics, and warmed up as his temperature was low. He was stable for a short period of time but then took a turn for the worse, at which point he stopped breathing and had no pulse. Resuscitation attempts were made but were unsuccessful," read the statement further.

The social media was flooded with speculations about Covid-19 vaccine being responsible for the cub's death. "Omg remember the adorable red panda cub they got at the Toronto Zoo? They vaccinated it at under 3 months old. Predictably, it "died suddenly," tweeted a user.

"How many animals have died of covid-19? 1. April. Maniacs at Toronto Zoo started injecting even their red pandas. 2. July. Cub #1 weak -> dies. 3. October. Cub #2 dies suddenly, he was only 3 months. Was the mama Panda whaccinated? Histopathology on the cub tissues needed. Must have Brent hat LongCovid they've been talking about," wrote another.

Here is the Truth

Debunking the viral claim, Reuters Fact Check stated that the as per a spokesperson for the zoo, the panda had never received a COVID-19 vaccine.

In a communiqué to the outlet, Amy Naylor, a spokesperson for the zoo, said, "I too have seen the people on Twitter posting our videos of our staff vaccinating our red pandas, but this was earlier in the year before Dash was even born in July. Only the adult red pandas received the Covid vaccine and are perfectly healthy."

Adding that cub's cause of death is still under investigation, Naylor said that a post-mortem was conducted to collect samples for additional testing which will be required to better understand the possible cause of the rapid decline of this animal. "Until the results are available to us, we are unable to definitively state the cause of death," said Naylor.