We’re very sad to announce the death of Indeever, one of our beautiful snow leopards, who, at the age of 14 had developed arthritis and kidney disease.
Indeever came to Marwell from Zurich in 2010 at the age of two and has spent the rest of his life alongside Irina, his female companion.
He quickly established himself as a big character at the zoo, loving to interact with his keepers and showing a keen interest in what was going on around him.
During his time at Marwell he fathered two litters of cubs including Kadhir and Kamala in 2011 and Ajendra and Animesh in 2013.
This is particularly important as snow leopards are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.
It’s thought there are more than 2,500 but fewer than 10,000 mature individuals in the wild with populations decreasing.
Carrie Arnold, Animal Team Leader, said: “I will always miss him. He was such a joyful character and never failed to make you smile. Indy loved playing hide and seek. Every morning he would run around or hide behind rocks to avoid us. When we spotted him, he would turn around and sprint off in the other direction.
“In the afternoon he would become even more playful, stalking us and following when we walked away. He would stop every time you looked back and would then come to a certain part of the enclosure where he enjoyed rolling around on the ground.
“He’ll be sadly missed.”
In the summer, keepers noticed that Indeever was walking strangely and wasn’t jumping as accurately as he would have done previously.
Dr Sarah Jane Smith, Deputy Veterinary Services Manager, said: “Because we know that arthritis is common in geriatric cats, we decided to anaesthetise Indeever for x-rays.
“We discovered he had arthritis in his pelvis and one of his knees. We started Indeever on long term pain relief, which initially worked really well.
“Indeever’s peculiar walk disappeared, and he was soon able to jump and bound around the enclosure again.”
Sadly though, his condition deteriorated again over the last week. He started to walk strangely again and had lost weight.
Dr Smith said: “We examined Indeever on Monday morning under anaesthesia and found that his weight loss was due to muscle loss. There were also signs of kidney disease on his urine sample.
“Muscle loss can be caused by both arthritis and kidney disease; and both diseases are very common in old cats, often happening at the same time.”
Arthritis and kidney disease can only be managed, not cured and our veterinary and carnivore teams agreed they could no longer be managed in a way that would ensure Indeever’s comfort.
To prevent further suffering the difficult decision to euthanase Indeever was made on Monday morning (28 November, 2022).