WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It is with great sadness that the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society announces the loss of its male red kangaroo, Irwin, following a battle with skin cancer.
A small mass was removed from the nearly 13-year-old kangaroo, which resulted in a cancer diagnosis. Shortly after, a second mass was discovered, which grew quickly.
“Irwin was taking nutritional supplements for kidney disease, and recent tests revealed some evidence of heart disease,” said Gwen Lovett, the Zoo’s animals and operations records manager.
Irwin remained under close watch following the surgical removal of the second skin cancer mass at the Melvin J. and Claire Levine Animal Health Center. His health continued to decline, and he passed away Wednesday afternoon. Palm Beach Zoo is now awaiting the results of a necropsy. Final results usually take six to eight weeks.
Born in June 2004 at Palm Beach Zoo, Irwin was part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for red kangaroos. The Zoo has housed kangaroos, many of them geriatric since 1995. Irwin represented the last of his species at the Zoo.
"The animals are part of our family, and a loss is never easy,” said Amy Anderson, the Zoo’s associate curator. “Zookeepers developed a deep bond with Irwin, and so has the community, he will be missed."
Loved by many, Irwin and his charming personality have been celebrated through the years by hundreds of thousands of visitors. In 2013, Irwin posed for National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore, for Photo Ark, a project raising awareness about endangered species. The Zoo is encouraging visitors and members to share their favorite photos and videos on social media.