BY WAYNE T. PRICE • FLORIDA TODAY • November 22, 2009
VIERA — A nearly weeklong struggle to save the life of Xinca, a 7-year-old male jaguar at the Brevard Zoo, ended Saturday morning.
“He was one of the more unusual animals here,” said Keith Winsten, executive director of the Brevard Zoo. “Jaguars are very powerful cats and often difficult to manage. But he was wonderful.”
Zoo personnel chemically immobilized Xinca, pronounced “Ching Ka,” Tuesday for routine medical procedures, which included a complete physical, dental exam and a sperm sample for a team of visiting researchers.
Nearly 90 minutes into the physical, Xinca quit breathing and staff performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation for 20 minutes until the animal could breathe on his own.
But Winsten said Xinca never regained full consciousness or motor control. Staff provided 24-hour care, but early Saturday the jaguar quit breathing for a second time and could not be resuscitated.
“We actually thought there was a chance he’d pull through,” Winsten said. “It’s like a human. If you had a human down for that many days, there’s a lot of high risk.
“But the last days we thought we’d see some improvement. That made the blow to the staff even more difficult.”
Xinca came to the Brevard Zoo in 2003 and he eventually fathered Nindiri, Phil and Jean. Their mother, Masaya, remains at the zoo.
The first post-death test results could be available today or Monday. Full results will take longer.
The last jaguar death at the zoo was in November 2000, when Onyx, an 11-year-old, died in similar circumstances. The female was under anesthesia for a routine physical exam, and officials believed she had became too stressed.
Contact Price at 242-3658 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org