A 9-year-old male cougar at the Stone Zoo was euthanized Saturday after it experienced multiple seizures within a 24-hour period, officials said.
Zoo officials said the cougar, named Blue, began having seizures several months ago and had initially responded well to treatment.
“But the frequency and severity of these seizures spiked over the last 24 hours and he was no longer responding to medication,” officials wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “Our animal care and veterinary teams made the heartbreaking decision to humanely euthanize him after they evaluated his rapidly declining health and poor prognosis for his quality of life.”
Cougars go by many different names — they’re also known as panthers, mountain lions, and pumas — and are one of the largest wild cats in North America, according to the Stone Zoo.
Blue came to the Stone Zoo after he was found alone near Salmon, Idaho in 2014. He was just a 5-pound cub and it was determined that he wouldn’t be able to make it in the wild on his own, zoo officials said.
Pete Costello, assistant curator at the Stone Zoo, traveled to Idaho to bring Blue to his new home at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, where the 4-week-old cub received round-the-clock care, officials said.
Visitors to the zoo had the chance to watch Blue as a young cub in his nursery space and later at his permanent home in the zoo’s “Treasures of the Sierra Madre” section, officials said.
“With cougars, their aloofness makes them so endearing, and Blue took this to another level,” Costello said in a statement posted to the zoo’s website. “Blue was one of my favorites, and he will be greatly missed not only by me, but by everyone who knew him.”
Blue enjoyed to roll around pumpkins and take in different scents, including ginger powder and pumpkin pie spice, officials said.
John Linehan, president and chief executive officer of Zoo New England, said the staff and animal care team are heartbroken over Blue’s death.
“He has been an incredible presence at Stone Zoo since he arrived as a very young cub,” Linehan said in a statement. “Guests had the opportunity to watch Blue grow up, and we know there are many people who love him as much as we do.”