WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society announces the passing of its oldest cat, Sharon, the ocelot. She was 23-years-old.
“Sharon was the most senior feline in our care, she was very loved, and she will be missed,” explained Associate Curator Nancy Nill.
Sharon passed away early Thursday, at the Zoo’s Melvin J. and Claire Levine Animal Care Complex. She had been under close watch following what appeared to be a mild seizure in mid-May. Sharon also had kidney disease, which is a common occurrence in older cats.
“Sharon was lethargic and had stopped eating regularly,” Nill said. “The Zoo will be conducting a necropsy, which is an autopsy for animals.”
At 23-years-old Sharon’s life is a testament to the Zoo’s reputation for providing high-quality care. In the wild, an ocelot lives about ten years, and in the care of man, an ocelot lives around 20 years.
“Losing an animal is never easy,” explained Nill. “There is some closure in knowing that she lived a great life as an ambassador for the sustainability of her species.”
Sharon lost her longtime love, Malo, in February following his battle with kidney problems. He was 21-years-old. The couple arrived at Palm Beach Zoo in 1996 and had one offspring.
The Zoo is still home to 7-year-old, Jade. She will move to the new Ocelot Overlook habitat, which is under construction and slated to open sometime this fall.