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Popular cougar Jethro dies from heart disease at Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo

For immediate release: April 7, 2020 - 10:00am

The Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo lost a long-time member of its pack on Sunday April 6, 2020. Eleven-year-old Jethro the cougar died from hypertrophic cardiac disease. Jethro had been a resident of the Zoo since 2009.

“We are all heartbroken by this unexpected news,” says Jeff Mitchell, Zoo Manager.  “Jethro was a beloved member of the Zoo and an amazing ambassador to Saskatoon and the visitors at the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo. Our thoughts are with everyone who loved Jethro, particularly his keepers and those who visited him at the Zoo, who are sure to feel his loss deeply.” 

Jethro was found Sunday morning unresponsive. Upon examination, he had passed overnight. Jethro's necropsy (animal autopsy) performed by veterinarians of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan revealed hypertrophic cardiac disease. It’s a thickening of the heart muscles that is hereditary, usually shows no signs or symptoms but can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. It will take several weeks to get the full testing and necropsy reports back.

Cougars have a life expectancy of 9-13 years and range from the north Yukon down to the Andes Mountains in South America. They are classified as Least Concern on the endangered species list but are considered endangered in several provinces in Canada.