May 29, 2008

Roger Williams Zoo Cheetah Euthanized

PROVIDENCE -- One of Roger Williams Park Zoo's most popular residents was euthanized earlier this week after a long bout with arthritis, according to spokeswoman Laura Dunn.

Togo the cheetah, who was just three weeks shy of his 16th birthday, had lived a long life -- longer than most cheetahs, which live an average of 8 to 12 years in the wild, and a few years longer in captivity. He was, Dunn said, one of the oldest surviving of his kind in North America.

Togo came to the zoo as a yearling in 1993, the zoo said.

Last June, he had a two-hour operation for arthritis on his right front leg after showing discomfort for two years. Veterinarians fused what is the cheetah equivalent of the animal's wrist joint in an attempt to alleviate pain.

But last week, she said, Togo's caretakers noticed his limp had become more pronounced. By Sunday he wasn't even using the leg and on Monday, veterinarians found another fracture.

"It was a hard decision to make," Dunn said.

(c) 2008 Providence Journal. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.