The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is sad to announce that two white-tailed deer were humanely euthanized on Thursday, February 27.
Both had experienced arthritis-related mobility problems for over a year with veterinary teams applying medical therapy to improve quality of life. Recently, the medications failed to adequately control joint pain and discomfort leading to the difficult but necessary decision to humanely euthanize.
According to caretakers, female Tuesday never met a person she didn’t like. She enjoyed being the center of attention when it came to the interactions from caretakers. Apples were her favorite treat. Male Sue (yes, Sue) enjoyed lounging in the sunflowers during summer. His favorite treat was carrots.
Though Tuesday’s exact age is unknown, it’s estimated she was 15 years old. Sue was 11. According to National Geographic, the average life span for white-tailed deer under human care is between 6 and 14 years.
Although the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists white-tailed deer as a species of least concern with a stable population, the species was near extinction due to overhunting at the turn of the 20th century. In fact, a white-tailed deer was the Zoo’s first animal in 1902! The novelty brought guests from around Oklahoma and near-by states to the Zoo, which was then located in Wheeler Park.
Today, the Zoo’s Oklahoma Trails habitat is home to four female white-tailed deer, Sapphire, 15, Ruby, 15, Cher, 14 and Chaz, 11.
Photo credits: Chris McGovern, Andrea Johnson and Deanthe Evans