Potter Park Zoo Mourns Loss of Snow Leopard

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Potter Park Zoo Mourns Loss of Snow Leopard

Nov 10, 2010

LANSING, MI --- Potter Park Zoo is saddened to announce the death of Vladimir, a 16-year-old male snow leopard.

“The snow leopards are a favorite among our zoo visitors,” said Zoo Director Gerry Brady. “Vladimir will be greatly missed by everyone in the community.”

The animal care staff and veterinarians from Michigan State University decided to euthanize Vladimir after test results confirmed the condition of his declining health. Unfortunately, he did not respond to treatment. As standard procedure, a necropsy was performed by veterinary pathologists from the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health at MSU.

“We knew that Vladimir’s poor health conditions were related to his advanced age. Both his liver and kidneys were severely compromised” said Dr. Jim Sikarskie, MSU's Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarian and the zoo’s back up veterinarian. “We made the right decision for the right reasons at the right time. We are sad that he is gone but glad that he lived such a great life”.

The average life expectancy of a snow leopard in the wild is about 12 years; while with the high quality of care given by accredited zoos like Potter Park, they can live to be 15 years or older.

“It’s always very difficult to make the decision to euthanize any rare species,” said Brady. “Our staff and visitors can be comforted by the fact that Vladimir lived a long life and brought joy to many people over his 16 years.”

Vladimir was born on July 18th, 1994 at the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, Kansas. He arrived at Potter Park Zoo in October of 2008. Vladimir was part of the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP) sponsored by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Potter Park Zoo works closely with other AZA zoos to enhance and help conservation efforts of snow leopards around the globe.

Snow leopards are an endangered species found from Western Mongolia to Northeast Pakistan and Bhutan. A secretive animal, the snow leopard lives mainly in mountain ranges and is specially adapted to live in colder climates.

Potter Park Zoo is located at 1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave. within Potter Park along the Red Cedar River in Lansing, Michigan. The zoo is open daily year-round, winter hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (517) 483-4222 or visit www.potterparkzoo.org.


Jake Pechtel, Marketing / Communications

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