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Zoo bids fond farewell to 'Papa'

Papa the Eurasian Lynx has passed away. - Greater Vancouver Zoo
Papa the Eurasian Lynx has passed away.
— image credit: Greater Vancouver Zoo

The staff of the Greater Vancouver Zoo and veterinarian Dr. Bruce Burton made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize their eldest Eurasian Lynx named Papa on Thursday, April 3.

"The decision to euthanize was based on Papa's difficulty breathing and inability to swallow," said zoo spokesperson Jody Henderson.

"Biopsy results of a mass in the nasal cavity confirmed adenocarcinoma (cancer). Papa’s first sign of illness was nasal discharge noticed on Feb 4, 2014. He was treated with several different antibiotics, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatories with no positive results and we felt his quality of life was not acceptable anymore.

The zoo has rescued numerous exotic animals over the years, including Papa, who was rescued from a private owner back in 2000 in poor body condition. After months of continual care Papa was nursed back to a healthy Eurasian Lynx.

The Greater Vancouver Zoo does not encourage individuals to keep exotic animals such as a lynx for a pet. Lynx are typically skittish, very private and solitary animals, in addition to having specialized needs which the average person is not familiar with.

Papa was approximately 19 years old and the median life expectancy for Eurasian Lynx is 15 years. Eurasian Lynx are listed as “least concern” conservation status by the IUCN (International Union of Conservation of Nature) Red List. They are currently found in 46 countries in Europe, northern Asia and the Middle East. Illegal skin trade remains the leading threat to the species, together with habitat loss and prey base depletion (Gov't. of US 2007a, IUCN 2007).

"It is always extremely difficult losing a member of our zoo family. Papa will be missed dearly by those who cared for him and those who connected with him through their visits to the zoo. And a special thanks to Dr. Burton for always being so compassionate and caring to our family," said Henderson.

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