Elmwood Park Zoo jaguar dies

The Elmwood Park Zoo announced the passing of Anasazi, a 19-year-old male jaguar. (Handout)
The Elmwood Park Zoo announced the passing of Anasazi, a 19-year-old male jaguar. (Handout)
Posted: March 06, 2013

Just when we'd gotten over the passing of the Philadelphia Zoo's lion king, 21-year-old Merlin, comes word that the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown has lost its eminent big cat.

Zoo officials announced this morning that Anasazi, a 19-year-old male jaguar, died on Thursday, Feb. 28, in his cage at the zoo on Harding Boulevard.

Zoo veterinarians had witnessed a sudden decline in Anasazi's condition and were poised to euthanize the jungle cat when he died on his own Thursday afternoon.

A preliminary exam revealed Anasazi's likely cause of death was due to complications resulting from kidney failure and cancer.

Zoo staff had been treating his kidney disease with special diets and medications for most of the past year.

The treatment prolonged Anasazi's life beyond the typical 17-year lifespan expected of his species in captivity.

Anasazi was born at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve in Catoctin, Md., on May 7, 1993. He arrived at the Elmwood Park Zoo on April 27, 1994.

Anasazi quickly became a favorite of the staff and guests, and his likeness was used to create a logo for the Elmwood Park Zoo that is still in use today.

The zoo acquired a female jaguar, Cali, in 1996. Although the original intention was to breed the cats, a lack of information regarding Anasazi's lineage prevented the zoo from moving forward with a breeding plan mandated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Nevertheless, Anasazi and Cali remained good buddies and could often be seen playfully growling at each other throughout the day.

The Elmwood Park Zoo has no immediate plans to add another jaguar to its exhibit. However, as Cali advances in age, the zoo has had discussions regarding the space and possible plans for its future.


Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 215-854-2611 or bcook@phillynews.com.

|
|
|
|
|