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Akron Zoo announces death of beloved female snow leopard Shanti

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Posted at 1:23 PM, Dec 15, 2021

AKRON, Ohio — The Akron Zoo announced Wednesday its female snow leopard named Shanti died Tuesday after she was diagnosed earlier this year with advanced chronic kidney and heart diseases.

Her health began to decline in the recent few days and her care team made the decision to humanely euthanize her on Tuesday.

“Shanti was an amazing cat to work with,” said lead carnivore keeper, Mark Schneider in a post on the zoo's Facebook page. “She was the best mother and she really loved interacting with us keepers. It was an honor to be part of her journey.”

A favorite among zoo guests, Shanti was known to be playful and enjoyed interacting with zoo visitors. Born on June 16, 2008, at the Binder Park Zoo in Michigan, she moved to the Akron Zoo on June 25, 2009. The median life expectancy for snow leopards is 15.1 years old.

During her time at the Akron Zoo, she welcomed eight snow leopard cubs Raj and Sabu in 2012, Malaya and Makalu in 2014, Altai, Layan and Asha in 2016 and Baya in 2019.

The male snow leopard, Tai Lung, remains in the snow leopard habitat. The zoo said it's working with the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan to find a female leopard to pair with Tai Lung.

She won the title of “Top Animal” in the past and the public dubbed her the “mother of the Akron Zoo.”

“Shanti was the embodiment of the Akron Zoo,” said Doug Piekarz, president and CEO. “Our guests were able to connect with her through her story, and her legacy will live on through her grown cubs. Thank you to our animal care and veterinary teams, who have provided Shanti with exceptional care throughout the years, especially at the end of her life. Shanti will be missed by the entire Akron Zoo family, including our visitors.”

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