Local News

Cougar dies of old age at NC Zoo

Posted January 16, 2014

— A 17-year-old cougar that had been in declining health at the North Carolina Zoo died Thursday, zoo officials said.

The cougar, a male named “Oliver,” was being treated for numerous age-related problems, including failing kidneys, and veterinarians decided further treatment would be ineffective.Cougars are considered geriatric at 12 years.

The cougar had a “rich, full life” since coming to the zoo as a rescue in 1997, said Dr. Ryan DeVoe, the zoo’s senior veterinarian. An anti-cruelty group in Michigan rescued the big cat, nicknamed “Ollie,” when he was 4 months old from an owner who kept him illegally.

“It is with great sadness that we report to you the loss of our beloved cougar, Oliver,” zoo General Curator Ken Reininger said in an email to zoo staff. “Ollie had been in failing health for several months, and the day had finally come to do what was best for him to prevent suffering.”

Knowing that Oliver was terminally ill, zoo officials had been working for several months to find new, young cougars. They learned this week that three cubs – two females and a male that lost their mother to a hunter – will be arriving from the Oregon Zoo in February.


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  • trayNTP Jan 21, 2014

    So, what happens to animals at the zoo after they die? That would be interesting to know.

  • dwntwnboy2 Jan 17, 2014

    Whats with the string of animals passing away at the zoo? Do we have the rest home of zoos? Maybe time to invest in some new critters.

  • feistyredhead2001 Jan 17, 2014

    Bitter sweet for the NC Zoo... loosing Oliver to old age and then getting 3 precious babies for North Carolinians to watch grow. R.I.P. Oliver

  • anti-Hans Jan 16, 2014

    What a headline :)

  • sww Jan 16, 2014

    So sad. But, how wonderful that new young cougars will be there soon.

  • salligalagher Jan 16, 2014

    Rest in peace baby.