The Sacramento Zoo has euthanized Shanti, its 20-year-old snow leopard, after she suffered traumatic injuries.
An entry on the zoo blog said Shanti was euthanized on Friday, nearly a week after keepers arriving to work on July 7 found the animal with injuries to her back, including damage to her vertebrae. Shanti also had a bite wound, indicating that a fight had occurred during the night with her companion, a juvenile snow leopard with whom she had lived for the last seven months.
Antibiotics and treatment failed to improve the leopard's condition, the blog entry reported.
Shanti was one of the oldest animals in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan. She came to Sacramento in 1997 from Edmonton, Canada and gave birth to four litters since her arrival.
"Shanti is an icon at the zoo, an excellent and patient mother and an incredible character," Leslie Field, the zoo's supervisor of mammals, was quoted as saying. "She was well loved and will be missed by keepers and visitors alike."
Snow leopards, listed as endangered, come from alpine forests in Asia.