A rare Amur leopard was killed at the Erie Zoo, in Pennsylvania, by another leopard, while the two were supposed to be mating.
On Monday, zookeepers put the 5-year-old male, named Edgar, and the 7-year-old female, named Lina together in close courters, in hopes that they would begin the mating process. Shortly after they entered the cage, Edgar grabbed Lina by the throat and mauled her to death. Zoo staff tried to save Lina, but their attempts were unsuccessful.
The zoo staff is puzzled as to why Edgar chose to attack Lina. It was reported that they had been placed in the cage together before, and no other attacks had occurred.
Amur leopards are one of the most endangered species in the world, and having Edgar and Lina mate was pivotal. Because female Amur leopards are only in for one week out of each year, Monday's timing was crucial for success. Sadly, things ended quite differently than they had hoped. Rather than adding a new leopard to the zoo...they lost one instead.
Amur leopards are native to Korea, Manchuria and Siberia, and their is only an estimated 19 to 26 in the wild, with more than 170 in captivity.
"For us it is emotional because we've never had this happen in the 30-plus years of my history here," Zoo Director Scott Mitchell said. "But the species, it is an even bigger loss. This may be one of the world's most endangered cats. And to lose one of the most important breeding females is just devastating."
Image via Wikimedia Commons