National Zoo euthanizes 10-year-old cheetah

WASHINGTON — A cheetah at the National Zoo was humanely euthanized earlier this week following a surgery that revealed worsening symptoms of kidney and liver disease.

The zoo says members of its staff euthanized 10-year-old Zabini Monday evening. Zabini, a male cheetah, was anesthetized Monday so he could be treated for ongoing weakness is his hind limbs — a possible symptom of a neurological disorder.

During the exam, veterinarians found signs of suspected liver disease.

Zabini never fully regained consciousness after the exam and veterinarians elected to perform a second exam Monday, which revealed worsening symptoms of kidney and liver disease.

Vets and animal care staff determined Zabini’s quality of life would quickly decline, so they decided to euthanize him, the zoo announced Wednesday.

Preliminary results of the surgery showed Zabini had hepatic and pancreatic disease. Final results will likely not be available for four to six weeks, the zoo says.

The life expectancy for male cheetahs in the wild is between 6 and 8 years old. At more than 10 years old, Zabini lived as long as about 30 percent of male cheetahs in captivity.

Zabini lived at the zoo’s Cheetah Conservation Station with his brother Granger, also 10. Zoo staff expects Granger to adjust well to life without his brother as male cheetahs sometimes live on their own in the wild.

In addition to Granger, the Cheetah Conservation Station is home to two other adult male cheetahs, Gat and Bakari.

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