The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden announces the death of one its fishing cat ambassadors, 14-year-old male, Chet, who was humanely euthanized on Thursday, February 9, at the Zoo’s Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital. 

At 14, Chet was considered a geriatric animal and he was under veterinary care for age-related health issues. As Chet’s health continued to decline despite supportive treatments, the Zoo’s veterinary and carnivore care teams knew his quality of life was deteriorating and made the decision to humanely euthanize him.

According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the median life expectancy for male fishing cats is 10.9 years, which Chet lived beyond thanks to the advanced care and excellent wellbeing he received from veterinary and animal care experts throughout this life.  

Chet arrived at the OKC Zoo in 2020 from Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, Illinois, as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for fishing cats. Welcoming him to the OKC Zoo’s feline family united three generations of fishing cats including Chet, his offspring Boon, 8, and Boon’s offspring, Puddles, 4. Chet’s caretakers shared that he participated in many of his training sessions and was eager to learn new behaviors that helped with his medical care which ultimately led to him living well into his senior years.

Fishing cats are known for swimming skills and ability to catch fish. Their front toes are partially webbed, and their claws protrude slightly even when retracted, an adaptation for fishing. Native to South and Southeast Asia, fishing cats are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation Nature. The greatest threat to declining fishing cat populations is wetland destruction, caused by pollution, encroachment, draining for agriculture, and excessive hunting and fishing. Currently home to three fishing cats males, Boon and Puddles, and female Katara, 3, the OKC Zoo will proudly continue to work with the AZA’s Fishing Cat SSP to grow its fishing cat family and contribute to the conservation of this rare species. Visit the Zoo’s fishing cats at its Cat Forest habitat.

Photo credit: Sabrina H.


Posted by Candice Rennels at 16:39
Share |
Search the site