OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden says its 19-year-old male jaguar, Tai, was humanely euthanized Monday.
Tai arrived at the OKC Zoo from the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Massachusetts when he was only a year old.
With an average lifespan of 12-15 years in the wild, 19-year-old Tai was one of the Zoo’s oldest big cats and a geriatric animal.
Tai’s caretakers have been treating him for age-related issues including arthritis and allergic dermatitis, but Zoo officials say even with medications and supportive treatments, Tai’s health continued to decline – thus the decision was made to humanely euthanize him.
According to his caretakers, Tai enjoyed being as high up as possible and could often be found on top of the tall rocks in his habitat or in hanging hammocks as he got older. He was extremely fond of herring and salmon and his favorite enrichment items to interact with were hanging feeders.
The jaguar is largest cat species in the Americas and the third largest in the world.
Jaguars have been listed as Near Threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List since 2002 due to habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching and human-wildlife conflict.
For more information or to buy tickets, visit the OKC Zoo’s website.