Cougar dies of old age at NC Zoo
Posted January 16, 2014
Asheboro, N.C. — 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.