It has been a rollercoaster of emotions for the staff at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls to start the New Year. One minute they are watching animals play in the fresh snow after the first real snowfall in the Sioux Empire, and the next they are saying goodbye to others.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the staff at the Great Plains Zoo made the heartbreaking announcement that their beloved red panda has passed away. The sweetheart they loved...Wicket.

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Great Plains Zoo (via Facebook)
Great Plains Zoo (via Facebook)

Wicket was 16-years-old. He was born in 2007 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. This sleepy panda bear arrived at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls in 2009. Anyone who met Wicket instantly fell in love with his charm. Zookeepers at the Great Plains Zoo say Wicket was a "sweet gentleman" who loved eating grapes and honey balls.

In the Facebook post, zoo officials with the Great Plains Zoo say the veterinary team had to make the "difficult decision to humanely euthanize" Wicket due to "age-related factors." Despite this sad news, Wicket lived a long and happy life.

Fun fact about Wicket: He's famous! This adorable red panda was featured in a video on CNN for International Red Panda Day in 2016.

Wicket loved to be outside no matter if it was blazing hot or freezing cold in the Sioux Empire. It also wasn't a surprise to see Wicket napping with his legs and tail dangling down or in the straw in front of his window.

More details about Wicket's life at the Great Plains Zoo can be found here.

The Sioux Falls community will dearly miss Wicket but will certainly continue to share his memory at the zoo.

13 Times Sioux Falls Made it into a 'Jeopardy!' Question

If the world was divided into Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune people, I would be down for Jeopardy! all the way. It's a lot more fun, it makes me feel smart because I can retain lots of trivia, and I am a horrible speller. So Wheel is out, no whammies.

Recently I discovered (I mean wasted a lot of time on) a website that is an archive of clues that have been on Jeopardy!.

While digging around the archive, I wanted to find out how often Sioux Falls came up in a question (Answer) on the show. Since 1990 Sioux Falls has been part of a question or an answer 13 times.


10 Reasons NOT To Move To Sioux Falls ;)

Sioux Falls is a special place. There is really no place else in the world quite like it. It is a unique spot of shining joy on the edge of the plains. But, if someone is planning to move here, there are a few things to know...

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