Hogle Zoo snow leopard dies of natural causes

Jan 23, 2024, 4:12 PM

Milenka the snow leopard...

Hogle Zoo announces the death of its snow leopard, Milenka. (Hogle Zoo)

(Hogle Zoo)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Hogle Zoo announced the passing of Milenka, one of its popular snow leopards.

A social media post by the zoo said Milenka died of natural causes.

“Before she passed away naturally at 15.5, our teams worked diligently across all areas of her life to accommodate her needs as an aging snow leopard,” the post said.

The zoo had been addressing her declining help for some time.


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A post shared by Hogle Zoo (@hoglezoo)

“Milenka’s care and health teams built a trusting relationship with her to provide excellent healthcare,” the post stated. “In recognition of her enthusiastic interaction with keepers and her voluntary participation in multiple injections and procedures this year, Milenka was affectionately awarded the “rock star” title in Asian Highlands.”

Milenka had been at the zoo since 1991 and was known for her grumpy smile and star-crossed eyes the zoo said.

“Described by her animal care team as a delightfully sassy cat, Milenka was never shy about expressing herself, especially when offered an ice treat,” the post stated. “Her unique vocalizations, a blend of chuffs and clicks, were known to melt hearts around her.”

Snow leopards are perfectly adapted to the cold high altitudes of central Asia’s rugged mountains and are often called the “ghosts of the mountains” due to their elusive nature, according to the zoo.

Despite its elusive reputation, the IUCN recently changed snow leopard status from endangered to vulnerable the post said.

“These cats have soft, dense fur, large paws, and an extra-long, heavy tail, aiding their acrobatics on rocky terrain and providing warmth,” the post added.

The Hogle Zoo thanked everyone who was a part of Milenka’s life and encouraged people to share their thanks and condolences with the Hogle Zoo team.

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Hogle Zoo snow leopard dies of natural causes