One of the National Zoo's adult male cheetahs, Granger, was humanely euthanized March 8. Granger was 10-and-a-half years old. The median life expectancy for male cheetahs in the wild is between six and eight years.
Recently, animal care staff noticed that Granger was not eating his entire diet and were closely monitoring him for his loss of appetite. In February, veterinarians performed a full exam on him, which revealed worsening symptoms of renal disease. Animal care staff continued to monitor his health and provide him the best care possible. They made the decision to humanely euthanize Granger after it became clear his quality of life was quickly declining. A preliminary necropsy found evidence of pancreatic disease in his abdomen.
Granger arrived at the National Zoo in April 2007 from the White Oak Conservation Center in Florida with two brothers. Granger never sired offspring; rather, he served as an educational ambassador for his species, illustrating the social nature and behavior of cheetahs to scientists, keepers and Zoo visitors.
Cheetahs live in small, isolated populations mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Many of their strongholds are in eastern and southern African parks. Due to human conflict, poaching, and habitat and prey-base loss, there are only an estimated 7,500 to 10,000 cheetahs left in the wild. The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers cheetahs vulnerable to extinction.
Zoo visitors can see adult male cheetahs Justin and Bakari at the Cheetah Conservation Station.
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Photo credit: Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian's National Zoo