NC Zoo cougar euthanized due to ‘declining health’

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The North Carolina Zoo shared a photo of one of its cougars exploring its newly-snow-filled habitat (Jan. 23, 2013). Credit: NC Zoo Photographer Jeff Owen

ASHEBORO, N.C. — A 17-year-old male cougar was euthanized Thursday at the North Carolina Zoo following a long period of declining health, according to a news release.

“Oliver” had been “under treatment for a variety of age-related problems for several months,” according to Zoo Senior Veterinarian Dr. Ryan DeVoe. According to a news release, the cougar’s health, including failing kidneys and difficulty walking, had reached a point where continued treatment would be ineffective.

Oliver had lived at the zoo since October 1997 after he had been rescued from an illegal owner as a four-month-old cub by the Michigan Anticruelty Association.

“It is with great sadness that we report to you the loss of our beloved cougar Oliver,” General Curator Ken Reininger wrote in an e-mail 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.

Zoo officials learned earlier this week that three cougar cubs — two females and a male estimated to be about three weeks old — that recently lost their mother to a hunter are slated to be transferred from the Oregon Zoo to Asheboro sometime in February.