Published: Feb. 16, 2010 at 8:49 AM
NAGOYA, Japan, Feb. 16 (UPI) — Patora, the oldest snow leopard born in captivity, has died at a Japanese zoo at the age of 21 years, 9 months, her caretakers said.
Patora died of natural causes Monday after falling ill at the Higashiyama Zoo in Nagoya, where she was born in 1988 and had given birth to three cubs during her lifetime, Kyodo News reported Tuesday.
“She had a beautiful black and white coat,” a zoo caretaker said. “She had avid fans.”
Snow leopards are moderately large cats native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. Between 600 and 700 live in zoos worldwide with an estimated 3,500 to 7,000 living the wild, where extensive hunting has diminished their numbers.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org