OKC Zoo saddened by death of beloved jaguar, Tavi

The Oklahoma City Zoo is saddened to announce the passing of our beloved 19-year-old female jaguar, Tavi, on Friday, June 16, 2017 at approximately 10:30 a.m.For the past two weeks, Tavi was being monitored by the Zoo’s vet care team for age-related ailments. Recently, she stopped eating and was unable to stay hydrated without medical assistance, which led the vet and caretaker teams to make the difficult decision to humanely euthanize Tavi. The veterinary team will conduct a necropsy (animal autopsy) to determine exact cause of death.

Tavi arrived at the Zoo in 2011 from the Tulsa Zoo and resided in Cat Forest also home to Tai, our 12-year-old male jaguar. Tavi was a favorite to guests who often inquired about her missing paw. Before arriving at the Zoo, Tavi was injured by another jaguar during a breeding introduction. As a result of that incident, her front right paw was partially amputated. But this never slowed her down! Tavi moved about her habitat with ease and grace. Tavi was also a fan of enrichment! Her favorite things–perfume sprayed on her boomer ball and whipped cream, a treat given only on special occasions!

The median life expectancy for a jaguar in human care is 17.8 years. Tavi exceeded this age due to the excellent care she received. Just as humans are living longer, animals in human care are also living longer thanks to the advances in veterinary medicine and health care programs.

Jaguars are the largest South American cat. Of all the big cats, only the lion and tiger are larger. Males are usually larger than females and may weigh as much as 250 pounds. They are known for their beautiful, colorful coats that are spotted with black rosettes. Jaguars are skilled swimmers and excellent climbers who prefer to spend time up in trees. Jaguars are endangered due to habitat loss and poaching.

Tavi was an amazing animal who brought joy to our lives and those who visited her. She will be missed.

--Mandi Sorenson, animal caretaker

Photo credit: Mandi Sorenson

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