Aging Cheetah 'Kuma' Dies At Tulsa Zoo
TULSA, Oklahoma - Kuma, a 16-year-0ld cheetah who lived at the Tulsa Zoo since 1997, has died, zoo officials said.
The average life span for cheetahs in captivity is 10 years, which made Kuma one of the oldest in the nation.
The zoo announced earlier this month that the aging cheetah had been removed from an exhibit because of medical issues.
Kuma had begun to show signs of neuromuscular weakness, vision and hearing impairment, which are not uncommon ailments in geriatric cheetahs.
Zoo spokesperson Angela Evans said in a press release that Kuma also began to show signs of a degenerative central nervous system disorder, including seizure-like episodes, late last week.
The decision was made to place him under routine anesthesia for an examination, the release said.
"The risk of anesthesia was taken into account, but for an animal such as Kuma who was having a medical crisis, the risk has to be taken to find out what may be wrong and if anything can be done to control it," said Dr. Kay Backues, Tulsa Zoo Senior Veterinarian.
Kuma did not recover from routine anesthesia, and his cause of death is thought to be from complications of the central nervous system disorder, officials said.