Zoo Says Goodbye To Basil, Their Female Cheetah

By  //  May 28, 2013

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BREVARD ZOO euthanizes cheetah

ABOVE VIDEO: Specially planned for this year’s “Safari Under the Stars” was the naming opportunities for the Brevard Zoo’s newest members—a jaguar cub and two Masai giraffe.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Last week was a tough one for Brevard Zoo staff as they euthanized its four-and-a-half year old female Cheetah, Basil, due to her failing health.

Brevard Zoo says goodbye to Basil, a female Cheetah Last week was a tough one for Brevard Zoo staff as they euthanized its four-and-a-half year old female Cheetah, Basil, due to her failing health. Zoo keepers noticed a change in Basil’s behavior last week and a follow-up surgical exam discovered that the female cheetah was suffering from pancreatitis. After she did not respond to medication and exploratory surgery revealed a severely damaged pancreas, the decision was made to humanely euthanize her.

Last week was a tough one for Brevard Zoo staff as they euthanized its four-and-a-half year old female Cheetah, Basil, due to her failing health. Zoo keepers noticed a change in Basil’s behavior last week and a follow-up surgical exam discovered that the female cheetah was suffering from pancreatitis. After she did not respond to medication and exploratory surgery revealed a severely damaged pancreas, the decision was made to humanely euthanize her. (Brevard Zoo Facebook image)

Basil came to Brevard Zoo in February of 2010 from White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Fla. She was transferred to Brevard Zoo per an Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Program (SSP) recommendation with her sister, Pepper and an unrelated older female.

The three cheetahs arrived for the opening of the Zoo’s Expedition Africa cheetah exhibit, located next to the rhinoceros yard.

Zoo keepers noticed a change in Basil’s behavior last week and a follow-up surgical exam discovered that the female cheetah was suffering from pancreatitis. After she did not respond to medication and exploratory surgery revealed a severely damaged pancreas, the decision was made to humanely euthanize her.

“It’s always difficult to lose a member of the Brevard Zoo family, but we did not want her to suffer unnecessarily.” Michelle Smurl

“It’s always difficult to lose a member of the Brevard Zoo family, but we did not want her to suffer unnecessarily.” Michelle Smurl

Following the loss of Basil, zoo keepers are keeping a watchful eye on her sister, Pepper, since they have never been separated. Staff stated that Pepper’s behavior is more subdued, but she is eating her normal diet. In addition to Pepper, the Zoo also has Peggy on exhibit in Expedition Africa. Peggy and Pepper are rotated between the exhibit and the back yard.

“It’s always difficult to lose a member of the Brevard Zoo family, but we did not want her to suffer unnecessarily,” said Michelle Smurl, Director of Animal and Conservation Programs.

“She had a great relationship with the keepers and a good life at the Zoo. We will miss her.”

Following the loss of Basil, zoo keepers are keeping a watchful eye on her sister, Pepper, since they have never been separated. Staff stated that Pepper’s behavior is more subdued, but she is eating her normal diet. In addition to Pepper, the Zoo also has Peggy on exhibit in Expedition Africa. Peggy and Pepper are rotated between the exhibit and the back yard.

BREVARD ZOO HAS CONTRIBUTED TO CHEETAH CONSERVATION

The Cheetah SSP population consisted of 284 animals at 54 AZA institutions as of March 2013. The target population size is 300 animals. Since 2003 and the opening of Expedition Africa, Brevard Zoo has contributed more than $14,000 to a variety of in-situ cheetah conservation projects.

ZOO-200According to the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) about 10,000 to 12,500 cheetahs are estimated to remain in 24 to 26 African countries and less than 100 animals in Iran.

With about 3,000 animals Namibia has the world’s largest number of free ranging cheetah. Cheetahs have been kept in captivity for over 5,000 years. The captive population suffers from a lack of genetic diversity making them more susceptible to disease and decreasing reproduction.

Indiscriminate trapping and shooting due to predation on livestock, a decline in prey and loss of habitat threaten the survival of the cheetah throughout its range.

Cheetah were placed on CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) as Appendix I, making international trade in live cheetah or cheetah products illegal in 1975. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) designated the cheetah as Vulnerable or Endangered in 1970.

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