Brevard Zoo Euthanizes 10-Year-Old Cheetah, Zinga
By Space Coast Daily // January 23, 2015
Zinga came to the Brevard Zoo last March
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Yesterday, Brevard Zoo said goodbye to Zinga, a 10-year-old female South African cheetah.
She was euthanized after a month-long medical condition could not be resolved.
In late December zoo keepers noticed she was licking the area around her tail, which became raw and inflamed.
She was examined by Veterinary staff and the diagnosis was an inability to defecate due to malfunction of the colon. Zinga underwent surgery and several procedures to try to correct the problem, but remained unable to defecate.
There are approximately 7,500 cheetahs left in the wild.
Due to her declining health, the decision was made to humanely euthanize her.
Zinga was born on June 22, 2004 at the White Oak Conservation Center. She and her brother were delivered via Caesarian section and had to be hand-reared.
She enjoyed her keepers at White Oak and the attention they gave her so much that she would allow people to get close and even pet her. She was paired with several males at White Oak but never became pregnant, so she became an animal ambassador instead.
In March of last year, Zinga came to Brevard Zoo, which served as her retirement home, and quickly won the hearts of Zoo staff. She spent her days lazily rolling in the grass and relaxing.
“She gave keepers the opportunity to work hands-on and helped people make a connection between themselves and the cheetah species. She will be greatly missed by Zoo staff,” said Tracey Sorenson, Curator of Animals.
The average lifespan of a cheetah averages between 8 to 12 years in captivity, but they can often live up to 17 years.
They are listed as vulnerable due to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as the killing and capture of cheetahs by farmers who feel they are protecting their livestock.
Her favorite treat was Cheese Whiz.