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Zoo News

Zoo News

Pneumonia claims life of cheetah cub Kamau
Jan 7, 2014

Zoo staff heartbroken over loss of beloved guest favorite

The Dallas Zoo is devastated by the death this afternoon of 6-month-old cheetah cub Kamau (ka-MOWH) after a brief but severe respiratory illness.

The cub and his brother, Winspear, became ill a week ago and were treated round-the-clock at the zoo’s hospital by the veterinary staff. Winspear is recovering and stable, but Kamau, the smaller of the cubs, worsened quickly today. He arrested about 2:15 p.m., and critical intervention and resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. A necropsy revealed evidence of pneumonia.

“Unfortunately, these types of illnesses can worsen very quickly in both animals and people,” said Lynn Kramer, D.V.M., vice president of animal operations and welfare at the Dallas Zoo.

Both cubs were vaccinated against both canine and feline distemper and other respiratory illnesses, and other cats at the zoo are healthy. The cubs’ puppy companion, a black Labrador puppy named Amani, also shows no sign of illness.

“The cubs had a very close bond,” Kramer said. “Kamau loved to play, and he was particularly fond of pouncing on top of his brother. The interaction between the cubs and Amani has fascinated guests and our staff since they arrived here last summer, and all three are beloved members of our family.”

The smoke-colored cubs, who were born July 8, quickly became guest favorites and charmed everyone when they made outreach visits outside of the zoo. A YouTube video of them playing earned more than 115,000 views, and the Dallas Zoo donated earnings from that video to the conservation efforts of Dr. Laurie Marker of the Cheetah Conservation Fund.

The Dallas Zoo encourages guests to post their photos of the cubs or leave messages of support for its staff on its Facebook and Instagram pages. (In photos, Kamau is the smaller of the two cubs and does not have a white tip on the end of his tail.) For those interested in donations in Kamau’s memory, the Dallas Zoo recommends Dr. Marker’s Cheetah Conservation Fund at

The zoo’s Animal Adventures outreach program, which teaches the public about these highly endangered African animals and conservation efforts on their behalf. The cubs met guests in person at the Wild Encounters stage for the past several months, and were to star in a new Cheetah Run this spring.

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