Death of Shanti the Snow Leopard

The Sacramento Zoo is saddened to report that Shanti, the 20-year-old Snow Leopard was euthanized on Friday, July 12, 2013 due to her poor quality of life following traumatic injuries. At 20, Shanti was among the oldest Snow Leopards in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan® (SSP).

When keepers arrived at work Sunday, July 7 they noticed that Shanti was injured and unable to move around comfortably. Upon closer examination by the Zoo’s veterinarian it was determined that Shanti had incurred trauma to her back which included damage to her vertebrae. The Zoo’s veterinarian treated Shanti’s injuries and she was started on a course of antibiotics and pain medication. When Shanti’s condition worsened due to further neurological complications and  infection, the Zoo’s veterinarians and animal care staff made the difficult decision to euthanize her.

Some of Shanti’s injuries including a bite wound indicate that there had been aggression overnight between her and a companion, a juvenile male Snow Leopard with whom she has lived for the last 7 months. However, it is unclear exactly if and how the bite wound and other traumatic injuries were related.

“Shanti is an icon at the Zoo, an excellent and patient mother and an incredible character. She was well loved and will be missed by keepers and visitors alike,” said Leslie Field, Supervisor of Mammals at the Sacramento Zoo.

At the age of 20 Shanti was one of the oldest female Snow Leopards in the AZA Snow Leopard SSP®. She came to the Sacramento Zoo in 1997 from Edmonton, Canada and gave birth to four litters during her time at the Sacramento Zoo. Snow Leopards are listed as endangered and in the wild live in the high alpine forests of Asia. The Sacramento Zoo participates in the International Snow Leopard Trust by donating funds for educational materials and conservation programs in the regions where Snow Leopards live.

Photo by Amanda Mayberry

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