A cheetah cub at the Dallas Zoo died on January 7 of pneumonia, following what the zoo called a "brief but severe respiratory illness."
Six-month-old Kamau and his brother, Winspear, both became ill a week ago. Kamau, the smaller of the cubs, worsened suddenly and died. A release from the zoo stated that he arrested at about 2:15 pm. Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. A necropsy revealed evidence of pneumonia.
A report issued by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Disease Laboratories referenced the fact that cheetahs in zoos suffer from a feline herpes virus that can lead to more severe illnesses, including pneumonia and eye infections that damage the cornea.
The cubs were born July 8 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. They were shipped to the Dallas Zoo in September. For the past few months, their routine consisted of visiting schools and assisted-living centers and doing demos at the Wild Encounters stage. They were slated to star in a new 80-foot cheetah run this spring.
This is the Dallas Zoo's second big-cat death in recent months; Johari, a lion, was killed in November 2013. Since her death, the zoo has kept the four remaining lions separated by gender. Zoo CEO Gregg Hudson told the DMN that arrangement may become permanent.
In 2013, the zoo set an all-time attendance record for the fourth year in a row, with an estimated 915,000 visitors, surpassing 2012's attendance of 880,000.