Snow Leopard Euthanized

July 3, 2008

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Lincoln Park Zoo lost its only snow leopard earlier this week. Chronic renal failure and other health problems forced zoo officials to euthanize the animal.

On average, snow leopards live for 11 years, but Yiet Yang lived to see 19. She was the oldest of the 138 snow leopards living in accredited North American zoos. Lincoln Park Zoo vice president of collections Robyn Barbiers says officials had been monitoring the aging animal's health for the past several years.

BARBIERS: In the last few days, it had become apparent that she wasn't just having a bad day, she was rapidly declining. And it was evident with her renal failure and her severe degenerative joint disease that the time had come.

Barbiers says Yiet Yang lived in Lincoln Park for most of her life and produced five cubs. She says the cat will be remembered for her feistiness and natural disdain for humans. Zoo officials are currently searching for a new snow leopard, which could arrive this fall.