Sad news today, friends: we said goodbye late this morning to Buster, our resident male snow leopard. Buster lived at the NEW Zoo since late 2008, when he joined us at the age of five from the Potter Park Zoo in Michigan. At 15 years old, Buster was an elderly snow leopard that has been under veterinary care and close observations for age-related issues. On Saturday, June 30th, he required emergency surgery for a severe corneal ulcer. Although the procedure went well, Buster suffered a respiratory and cardiac arrest at the end of surgery. The veterinary team was able to resuscitate him, but Buster never fully recovered. His deteriorating condition over the last two days caused us to make the decision to let him go peacefully. He passed away quietly and comfortably this morning around 11am.
Buster was a beautiful ambassador for his endangered species. We know he helped inspire many zoo visitors, staff, and volunteers to appreciate wildlife. The NEW Zoo is dedicated to protecting endangered species and their habitats through partnerships with other conservation-based organizations like the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Despite a range of over 720,000 square miles, scientist estimate that there may only be between 3,920 and 6,390 snow leopards left in the wild. You can learn more about snow leopard conservation, and how to make a difference for these animals, by visiting our friends at Snow Leopard Trust.
Thanks for the memories, Buster.