Building a future for wildlife and wild places
This morning our veterinary team, in consultation with our specialist Carnivore keepers, made the tough but kindest call to euthanise our very elderly male cheetah Osiris.
Osiris was 12.5 years old (above the upper life expectancy for cheetahs in zoos, and years beyond cheetah survival in the wild). Like his twin brother Anubis, who we farewelled in September, Osiris had age-related degenerative health issues including arthritis and loss of body condition. He had slowed down progressively in recent weeks, and since the weekend his mobility had declined further.
“As with any very old animal, we’ve been monitoring Osiris very closely for some time, and given his age, this inevitable decline was not unexpected. While we have been able to manage his pain with anti-inflammatory pain relief, it is not able to cure his irreversible degenerative diseases, so this has absolutely been the right call", says Dr James Chatterton, Veterinary Services Manager.
Carnivore team leader Lauren Booth, who has cared for and worked closely with both Anubis and Osiris for nearly 11 years, says “while it’s been really heart-breaking to have to say goodbye to these two incredible big cats, there is much to celebrate about them”.
Lauren Booth, Carnivore Team Leader
While it’s been really heart-breaking to have to say goodbye to these two incredible big cats, there is much to celebrate about them.
“Osiris was a very loving laid-back individual, very quick to make friends with new keepers, and could be a real goofball at times. A bit of a dreamer off in his own world, he loved nothing more than to roll around in grasses while out walking with us in the Zoo. Osiris was definitely extrovert ‘Ernie’ to Anubis’s more serious and focused ‘Bert'
Like Anubis, he’s also brought so much joy to so many over the past 12 years, and left behind a great conservation legacy. He won the hearts of millions of visitors, many of whom had the unforgettable experience of seeing him out walking with myself and the team when we did public encounters,” says Lauren, who has cared for and worked closely with both Anubis and Osiris nearly their whole life.
Osiris came to Auckland Zoo with his twin brother Anubis in 2006 as part of an international ambassador programme to grow awareness and support for cheetah – Africa’s most endangered cat. Since 2004, Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund has helped cheetah in the wild, though its support of Cheetah Outreach – a Cape Town-based trust working to prevent the extinction of cheetah.
The Zoo’s young cheetahs Qia and Quartz will continue the legacy of Anubis and Osiris.