Zoo Saddened by Loss of Nigel the Serval

By Tonja Swank, Public Relations Coordinator

Sacramento Zoo is saddened by the loss of the Serval, “Nigel” at the age of 17. Keepers and veterinarians monitored Nigel closely in his old age as he developed arthritis and kidney issues, but it was only a matter of time before age-related illness took its toll. His condition worsened and after thoughtful discussion between animal care, Zoo administrators and veterinary staff, the decision was made to humanely euthanize him.

“He was a great animal known to many of the staff as one of our ‘best cats’ because of his even temperament,” said Harrison Edell, General Curator. “It has been especially difficult for staff members who have worked with this particular cat for so many years.”

Many Sacramento Zoo visitors have enjoyed seeing Nigel over the years. He came to the Zoo as a cub in 1993 where he was one of the animal ambassadors in the Zoo’s educational programs. Until his age began to slow him down, Nigel participated in almost every stage show at the Amphitheatre, visited schools with ZooMobile and helped educate Zoo campers.

The Serval is a long, lean cat with prominent ears and a tawny coat with black spots, bands and stripes, found south of the Sahara desert in Africa. They are solitary creatures whose natural habitat is grasslands, scrub brush, marshlands and woodlands. The average lifespan of a Serval is 15 years. In the wild, habitat loss due to growing civilization is the largest threat they face

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