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Female Cheetah Imara Euthanized

Imara (standing) spends time with Kira in the outdoor habitat.

Posted Nov. 19, 2021

The Zoo is sad to announce one of its female cheetahs, Imara, was humanely euthanized on Nov. 18. She would have turned 17 years old on Dec. 23. Imara was considered an older animal, and as such, she was recently experiencing a decline in health. The median life expectancy for female cheetahs in human care is 11.7 years. Imara was one of the oldest cheetahs living in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) population of the species.

Animal care staff were closely monitoring Imara, and as her quality of life deteriorated, the decision was made for humanely euthanizing her.

Imara arrived at the Milwaukee County Zoo in 2014 from Wildlife Safari in Oregon, along with female cheetah, Kira. Imara and Kira were not related, but Imara was the sister of MCZ’s former cheetahs, Damara and Nama. (Kira was humanely euthanized last year from age-related health issues.)

Zookeepers comment Imara seemed to immediately trust her caregivers when she arrived at the Milwaukee County Zoo, while Kira was the more cautious of the two. Many of Imara’s keepers have had a long relationship working with her and taking care of her, and she will be missed.

The Zoo recently acquired two new 4-year-old cheetahs, Minne and Mila, from the Caldwell Zoo in Texas. They made their public debut the week of Nov. 8 and are getting more comfortable in their new surroundings. Keepers say they can often be seen running in their outdoor habitat and frequently greeting visitors at the viewing glass of their exhibit yard.