Auckland Zoo has today farewelled a cherished member of its family - elderly male cheetah Anubis.

At the grand age of 12 (the upper life expectancy for cheetahs in zoos and years beyond cheetah survival in the wild), Anubis had age-related degenerative health conditions.

These had been mild and successfully treated and managed for some time but advanced over the past month, with Anubis’s mobility (from suspected arthritis) in particular, declining. In addition, abnormal blood levels indicated likely heart and kidney disease, and this morning Zoo staff made the tough, but kindest decision, to euthanise him.

“These are always hard days and decisions for the keepers and our vet team, but we know we’ve done the right thing by Anubis.  He’s had an exceptional innings, and we’re all really proud of the great love and care and enriching life we’ve been able to give him,” says the Zoo’s veterinary services manager, Dr James Chatterton.

Anubis came to Auckland Zoo with his twin brother Osiris in 2006 as part of an international ambassador programme to grow awareness and support for cheetah - Africa’s most endangered cat. Charismatic advocates for their wild cousins, the hand-reared brothers fast won the hearts of staff and many thousands of visitors, whose visitation continues to enable the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund to support the conservation of cheetah in the wild.

Carnivore team leader Lauren Booth, who’s been a big part of both cheetahs’ lives since they arrived, describes Anubis as the more serious brother, renowned for his love of food, including his brother’s, which he would shamelessly steal!

“We keepers often say if human, Anubis would be a business professional, and laid-back Osiris, a surfer. While Anubis was more reserved, once you’d earned his trust, you had a friend for life and an incredible bond. He could be a real puppy dog and loved nothing more than a tummy scratch, and one of his favourite activities was our early morning walks around the Zoo, especially through Pridelands where he loved to watch the zebra and giraffe. We’re really going to miss him,” says Lauren.

The same age as Anubis, Osiris also has some physical age-related health issues. 

These are currently being successfully managed and his quality of life remains good for now. But of course, we’ll continue to monitor him very closely for any changes.