The New York State Zoo at Thompson Park has lost two longtime members of its family: Fleur, a female American black bear, and Boo, a female mountain lion.
In a news release, the zoo said the 11-year-old mountain lion was found unresponsive in the holding area of her exhibit Friday morning. A necropsy performed at the North Country Animal Health Center revealed that Boo most likely died of a heart attack.
Results indicated a large amount of fat in the heart which caused an obstruction leading to a fatal heart attack. Samples of lung and liver have been sent out for pathology results, zoo spokesman Kurt Hunt said in the release.
A decadelong resident, Boo had joined the zoo in 2002 from Montana Fish and Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
Mountain lions which go by many other names including pumas, cougars, catamounts, mountain cats and panthers are found throughout the U.S., southern Canada and Central and South America and have an average lifespan of 13 years, according to the zoo.
Mr. Hunt said the black bear Fleur, a founding resident who moved in nearly two decades ago, had been euthanized Thursday. She had been suffering from deteriorating health and a recent blood test indicated she was experiencing kidney failure.
Fleur made a memorable debut in 1994 when she escaped from her enclosure after being startled by the large crowd in attendance at the opening of the Zoos bear exhibit. Though quickly recovered, Fleur had swiftly demonstrated the craftiness and intelligence her species is known for, Mr. Hunt said.
She came to the Thompson Park zoo as a cub along with Roswell, a male black bear, from the West Virginia State Wildlife Center, and was a favorite among zoo staff and visitors, he said.
American black bears which are found throughout Canada and in parts of the United States and Mexico have a lifespan of 18 years in the wild, according to the zoo.
Based on the necropsy results, veterinarians attending to the animals do not believe that there is any correlation between the bear death and the mountain lion death, Mr. Hunt said, adding that visitors are welcome to share photos of Fleur and Boo on the zoos Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NYSZoo.