Snow Leopard at Miller Park Zoo in Illinois Zoo

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Miller Park ZooIllinois announced the death of Rilu, a 11-year-old snow leopard.

“Rilu arrived at the Miller Park Zoo in 2011 from the Oklahoma City Zoo,”They wrote. “During his time here, he produced seven living offspring that are now part of the Species Survival Plan.”

They say that Rilu made it one of the top institutions in the world for producing snow leopard cubs.

“Rilu’s personality and beauty will be missed by guests and staff, but he will not be forgotten,”They added.

Instagram also shared Rilu’s film capture in Joel Sartore’s project “The Photo Ark,”Rilu’s photos and videos have been shared all over the globe, including New York at the Empire State Building.

“I love that the legacy of Rilu will live on in the Photo Ark,” Miller Park Zoo Superintendent Jay Tetzloff said. “Rilu will engage and astonish the world for many years to come.”

Miller Park Zoo announced that they would be closing some buildings indefinitely after Rilu’s passing days before. “as the COVID positivity in the community dramatically increases, and some of the cats are exhibiting symptoms again.”

“The first cat began coughing and had a raspy respiration beginning on November 20,”They wrote to say that other cats were receiving veterinary treatment.

They noticed that none of the animals in the zoo had been given COVID-19 shots, and that all indoor spaces required masks.

Since the pandemic, there have been a number of cases in which animals contracted COVID-19. A snow leopard from San Diego tested positive in July 2021 for the virus, while a Bronx Zoo tiger had COVID in April 2020. 

In July of 2021, zoo animals in the Oakland Zoo began receiving experimental COVID-19 vaccines.