Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 23, 2014

Nebraska Zoo Likens Frisky Red Panda Pop to Strom Thurmond

Looks like Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., has let the cat red panda out of the bag:

Nebraska Zoo Likens Frisky Red Panda Pop to Strom Thurmond

(Courtesy Jeff Fortenberry)

While weighing in on the origins of Rusty, the 1-year-old red panda who took to the streets of D.C. Monday for an impromptu look-see, Fortenberry inadvertently leaked a Nebraska habitat’s nickname — “Strom Thurmond” — for the randy elder mammal from which he sprung.

John Chapo, Lincoln Children’s Zoo president and CEO, told HOH he bestowed the moniker on the furry pawed-paterfamilias, whose real name is “Disney,” for obvious reasons.

“According to the national Red Panda Species Survival Plan chair, Disney was and still is the oldest red panda male in captivity to successful sire healthy offspring at the age of 15. Before that, the oldest was 12,” Chapo explained.

Nebraska Zoo Likens Frisky Red Panda Pop to Strom Thurmond

(CQ Roll Call archives)

Prior to his death, it was believed that the late South Carolina Republican had only begun having children after cruising past the official retirement age.

After his death, African-American schoolteacher Essie Mae Washington-Williams revealed that she had been the product of a decades-old tryst between the one-time segregationist leader and her mother, a Thurmond family maid.

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