For Release: May 22, 2006
John Gibbons (202) 633-3083
Peper Long(202) 633-3082
National Zoo Euthanizes Elderly Cheetah
A 12-year-old female cheetah with chronic kidney failure was euthanized Sunday, May 21, at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, after a rapid decline in the animal’s condition.
National Zoo staff had been monitoring “Jomu” closely for several months due to her age. In early April keepers saw a dramatic increase in her water consumption, which is an indicator of possible kidney problems. Zoo veterinarians followed up and detected elevated kidney values in her blood. A blood sample taken Friday, May 19, confirmed that her condition was worsening rapidly despite medical treatment.
Chronic renal failure is the progressive failure of the kidneys.
“Chronic renal failure is one of the most common diseases in older captive cheetahs,” said Dr. Luis Padilla, National Zoo veterinarian.
Although Jomu will be missed, Zoo staff is proud of the contributions she has made to the Zoo’s cheetah conservation efforts: She was a member of the first surviving litter born via artificial insemination performed by the National Zoo’s reproductive scientist, Dr. JoGayle Howard. Jomu was born at the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, Texas, in 1993 and came to the National Zoo the following year.
Cheetahs, the world’s fastest land mammals, are
listed as vulnerable on The World Conservation Union’s
list of threatened species. An estimated 12,000 to 15,000
cheetahs survive in the wild, most in small populations
in sub-Saharan Africa. Cheetahs live eight to 10 years
in the wild.
The National Zoo currently has 10 cheetahs—three males and seven females.
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