OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Zoo announced the death of their 15-year-old snow leopard, Kiara.
Zoo caretakers first noticed Kiara developed a respiratory illness and decreased appetite.
During a resulting exam, veterinary staff “discovered end-stage heart and lung disease and made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize Kiara. However, she passed before the medication could be administered.”
Zoo officials say Kiara died December 29 around 10:30 a.m.
The veterinary team will conduct a necropsy to determine the exact cause of death.
Kiara came to the zoo in 2006 from the Tulsa Zoo and resided in the Cat Forest habitat with snow leopards Tom, 11, and Milenka, 9.
Caretakers remember her as “cheeky, quirky and confident with an unusual (but adorable) habit of dipping the tip of her tail in water on warm days.”
The median life expectancy for snow leopards is 15.1 years.