After an extended illness, female cheetah B.C., 14, was humanely euthanized at the Oklahoma City Zoo on Friday, March 29, at approximately 8:30 a.m.
Decreased mobility, kidney disease and other age-related issues led OKC Zoo's caretakers and veterinary team to the difficult but necessary decision to humanely euthanize.
B.C. came to the Zoo in 2007 from Wildlife Safari in Oregon. She was a favorite of her caretakers and enjoyed training sessions, eating quail and bones. B.C. will be missed not only by staff, but also by the millions of Zoo guests she inspired during her 12 years at the Zoo.
According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the median life expectancy for cheetahs is 11.6 years.
Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animals with an ability run up to 70 miles per hour. They are also the most endangered cat, with fewer than 8,000 remaining in the wild. The greatest threats impacting the species are habitat loss, human conflict and lack of genetic diversity.
The OKC Zoo remains dedicated to cheetahs and is coordinating with AZA to return the species to the Zoo as soon as practical. The Zoo is a member of the AZA SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) cheetah program, uses Round Up for Conservation funds to support the Northern Rangeland Trust’s mission to protect land for species including cheetahs and funded a 2017 program to mitigate human/cheetah conflict in Kenya through a Conservation Action Now (CAN) grant.
-Tyler Boyd, curator of carnivores and hoofstock
Photo credit: Andrea Johnson