Zoo Mourns Loss of Big Cat

Rolling Hills Zoo is mourning the loss of one of the members of their animal family. Earlier this week the zoo’s female cougar passed away.

According to the zoo, Sadie, the zoo’s female cougar, was euthanized on Tuesday due to health issues impacting her quality of life. At 18 years of age, Sadie had outlived a cougar’s median age of 16.

Sadie was born February 1, 1999, and was donated to the Zoo when she was 3 years old.

Here are some of the zoo’s favorite memories of Sadie:

  • When Sadie first came to Rolling Hills Zoo she was housed with an older female cougar named Dixie. Sadie loved to knock any enrichment around the exhibit, such as big plastic jugs or large cardboard boxes.The more noise she could make the better, and if you gave her too small of a box, Dixie would grab it from Sadie to make sure there was nothing left for her to play with.
  • Once we purchased a toy called a “ball in a ball.” It was a large plastic ball with holes in it with a smaller ball inside. Sadie played with it for about 5 minutes before she pulled the smaller ball out –resulting in no more noise!
  • Sadie always enjoyed laying on the high bed next to the viewing window. One of her favorite games was to play “footy” with her keepers. She loved reaching through the mesh with her front paws while you tried to grab them (she came to RHZ declawed). She would then take off running, encouraging you to chase her along the fence and give her foot again and again.
  • Those that cared for her called Sadie our “talker girl,” because when you talked to her she would talk right back to you.

Cougars, also known as pumas, are listed as “Least Concern” on the endangered species list because it is one of the most widely-distributed mammals in the Western Hemisphere. Although it has been completely removed from its former range in mid-western and eastern North America (Nowell and Jackson 1996), it is attempting to re-colonize this region (Thompson and Jenks 2010, LaRue et al.2012). However, it is considered to be declining elsewhere in its range because, as a large carnivore, its survival is linked to other wildlife and habitat associations, thereby presenting numerous challenges for its conservation management.

Sadie will be greatly missed by all, including staff and guests, at Rolling Hills Zoo.



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