Simone, Reid Park Zoo’s 23-year-old jaguar, has died. The oldest jaguar at an AZA-accredited zoo, Simone lived nearly all of her life at Reid Park Zoo having arrived from another zoo when she was 7 months old.
Simone was euthanized Friday, July 5 due to age-related health issues, according to a statement released by the Zoo. Simone’s sister Nikita passed away in 2017, also due to age-related health concerns.
According to the Zoo, the animal care and veterinary staff had been managing Simone’s health closely and determined that humane euthanasia was the best course of action as her health declined.
“Simone was a striking cat with a muscular build, known for her climbing and swimming abilities,” Director of Zoological Operations Dr. Sue Tygielski said. “Unlike most jaguars, Simone was a melanistic cat: her coat was dark, instead of the more common yellowish-brown with black rosettes. In the bright sunlight, guests could see the black rosettes typical of jaguars showing through Simone’s nearly black-brown coat, which made her particularly beautiful. She was always a guest and staff favorite and many came to celebrate her 23rd birthday in March of this year.”
The median life expectancy for jaguars is 18 years old.