Asa will be missed by animal care staff and Zoo visitors alike.
Posted June 2022
The Zoo is sad to announce that its male snow leopard, Asa, was humanely euthanized June 24. Asa, who would have turned 8 years old July 9, had been experiencing a declining quality of life due to advanced renal failure.
In recent weeks, Asa’s kidney issues and “flareups” would re-occur every so often. The Zoo’s animal care staff were able to administer a multitude of medical treatments to address the issue, which allowed Asa to experience a good quality of life over the last year since he was diagnosed.
Asa frequently participated in his own healthcare through training sessions that allowed vet techs to draw blood, take blood pressures and X-rays, and administer fluids without anesthesia. Keepers were also able to collect urine to monitor his values. The relationship between Asa and his care team opened the door for them to keep him as comfortable as they could for as long as possible.
Zookeepers were closely monitoring Asa, and as the renal disease progressed and his quality of life deteriorated, the decision was made for humane euthanasia.
Asa arrived at the Milwaukee County Zoo in 2015 from the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse. Born in 2014, Asa was hand-raised by Syracuse’s collection manager due to complications with his birth. Keepers say Asa was quite social, and when he first arrived here, he adapted to his home a lot quicker than other big cats would, especially snow leopards. He was always interested in his keepers and loved getting scratched with a back scratcher.
At MCZ, Asa and his companion, female Orya, had one offspring together: Milja, born in 2020. Milja was recommended to move to the Akron Zoo, an AZA-accredited facility, with the hopes she’ll have offspring of her own to add to the genetic diversity of the species.
Keepers say Asa was a wonderful snow leopard to work with. He was always ready to greet his keepers in the morning and was eager to train whatever behavior they could introduce to him. He was curious, demanding and an “attention-seeker,” in a good way! He loved to play “stalk,” and would try to “surprise” the keepers any chance he could. He always did what the keepers asked of him, even toward the end of his life. He thrived off attention and even if it was something he really didn’t want to do, if he knew he was going to get attention, he was IN!
Asa will be greatly missed.