Sad news from Reid Park Zoo as remaining jaguar, Simone dies

Sad news from Reid Park Zoo as remaining jaguar, Simone dies
Simone the jaguar (Source: Reid Park Zoo)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Simone, Reid Park Zoo’s 23-year-old jaguar was euthanized on Friday, July 5 due to age-related issues, according to a release from the Zoo staff.

She was the oldest jaguar at an Association of Zoos & Aquariums zoo, she lived nearly her whole life at the zoo, having arrived from another zoo when she was only 7 months old.

“Simone was a striking cat with a muscular build, known for her climbing and swimming abilities,” Director of Zoological Operations Dr. Sue Tygielski said, in the release. “Unlike most jaguars, Simone was a melanistic cat: her coat was dark, instead of the more common yellowish-brown with black rosettes. In the bright sunlight, guests could see the black rosettes typical of jaguars showing through Simone’s nearly black-brown coat, which made her particularly beautiful. She was always a guest and staff favorite and many came to celebrate her 23rd birthday in March of this year.”

Reid Park's dedicated animal care staff kept a close eye on Simone, monitoring her diet and several age-related health issues.

The life expectancy for jaguars, which are threatened in the wild, is about 18 years of age.

Both Simone and her sister Nikita, who died in 2017 also of age-related health issues, were well past that milestone.

Many species tend to live longer in Zoos because of the nutrition, health care, and daily attention animal care professionals provide. Reid Park Zoo is home to a number of older animals, reflecting the Zoo’s ongoing commitment to whole-life care of its residents.

The animal care and veterinary staff at the zoo had been managing Simone’s health closely and determined that humane euthanasia was the best course of action as her health declined.

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