A snow leopard has died after contracting Covid-19 at Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, Illinois.
Rilu, an 11-year-old snow leopard, struggled with Covid-19 induced pneumonia before death, according to a post on the Miller Park Zoo verified Instagram account.
“Rilu arrived at the Miller Park Zoo in 2011 from the Oklahoma City Zoo,” the post said.
“During his time here, he produced seven living offspring that are now part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP).
“He made the Miller Park Zoo one of the leading institutions in the world in producing Snow Leopard cubs.”
“Rilu’s personality and beauty will be missed by guests and staff, but he will not be forgotten.”
Snow leopards are a vulnerable species, according to the World Wildlife Fund. With an estimated population of 4,000 to 6,500, the main threats to their survival are hunting, habitat loss and the climate crisis.
Cases of zoo animals infected with Covid-19 have been previously reported.
In December, two hippos tested positive for Covid-19 at a zoo in Antwerp, Belgium.
A month earlier, three snow leopards died at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska, due to Covid-19 related complications.