Zoo cougar Dodger dies
N.C. zoo officials said Wednesday that Dodger, a 14-year-old cougar, was euthanized after it no longer responded to medications or treatment for a severe degenerative joint disease.
The puma, one of two at the zoo, arrived at the park in 1998 as a 3-month-old cub from the Michigan Humane Society. The cub had been found in a cage by firemen responding to a call to a deserted Detroit building and was eventually confiscated from the owner of the building.
The zoo’s other cougar came to the zoo in 1997 and also arrived as a cub from a Michigan animal-welfare organization. He is in good health and can be seen daily at the zoo’s Cypress Swamp exhibit.
Cougars once roamed throughout most of North America, but virtually have disappeared east of the Mississippi River. There are believed to be no more than 100 pumas in the swamps of southern Florida and 30,000 cougars in the western states.
Across the continent, the big cats also are known as mountain lions, catamounts and panthers. A lion’s natural life span is about 12 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife.