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Potawatomi Zoo announces loss of 19-year-old Amur Leopard

Sergei// Photo provided

South Bend's Potawatomi Zoo announced the loss of their 19-year-old Amur Leopard, Sergei, early Saturday morning.

Zoo officials say Sergei's health was declining rapidly due to old age and chronic health issues-- they then made the decision to humanely euthanize him .

“Sergei’s appetite and attitude abruptly declined, prompting an emergency examination, which revealed he was in kidney failure,” said Dr. Ronan Eustace, Zoo Veterinarian, in a release. “Based on the severity of his condition, a humane euthanasia was performed.”

“Sergei came to Potawatomi Zoo as part of the Species Survival Program (SSP) developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums,” said Marcy Dean, Executive Director of Potawatomi Zoo. “Though he will be profoundly missed, we feel fortunate to have provided him with a long and comfortable life that ended with grace and dignity. He will be remembered not only for his beauty and rarity, but also for his significant contribution to the species.”

Sergei called the zoo home for several years and officials say he served as an ambassador for the Amur species.

You may recall the births of his five cubs with the zoo's other leopard, Pearl. The zoo says they are now part of an effort to breed and preserve new generations of the species.

According to the zoo, Amur leopards traditionally live to be 10 to 15 years old in the wild.

If you'd like more information on how to make a donation in Sergei's honor or when you can visit the other leopards go to www.potawatomizoo.org

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