Zoo staff rocked by baby cheetah's death

STAFF at Colchester Zoo have been left devastated by the sudden death of a hand reared cheetah cub.

STAFF at Colchester Zoo have been left devastated by the sudden death of a hand reared cheetah cub.

One-year-old Katavi was taken ill on Friday, October 30 after struggling to get up.

The sudden onset of her illness led vets to suspect a trauma to the spine or her hind legs had taken place.

Despite treating her with painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, X-rays revealed no fractures and so an MRI scan was arranged.


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The scan revealed an area of infection in the tissues surrounding the vertebrae in her neck.

Katavi was given round the clock care by a dedicated team made up of her keepers and vets but her condition deteriorated and the decision was made to put her to sleep last Friday.

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Zoological Director Anthony Tropeano said: “Friday was probably the worst day of my 25-year career at the zoo.

“I am very upset to have lost Katavi; she was an extraordinarily special animal to me and has left a hole in many people's lives that will be difficult to fill.

“I have many happy memories of her but I am devastated that her life has been cut so short.”

Katavi was born on 2nd June 2008 and was hand reared by Mr Tropeano and Rebecca Perry, Colchester Zoo's Conservation Officer after she was abandoned by her mother.

She featured on Channel five's 'Zoo Days' series where viewers were able to watch her growing up from her earliest days and bonding with Mr Tropeano and his two Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Border Collie.

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