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RIP Cubba

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 11:33am
Leopard Left Fore - Normal.JPEG Leopard Right Fore - Osteosarcoma.JPEG

We recently said goodbye to Cubba, our Persian leopard. Born here at Adelaide Zoo, Cubba had lived a long healthy life and rarely required veterinary attention. About a month ago, Cubba was found suddenly lame on his right front leg one morning with an obvious swelling just above his wrist.

We initially suspected an injury. Then Arliah, one of the keepers looking after Cubba, found some photos taken weeks earlier that showed the swelling had been developing for a while. We decided to anaesthetise him to investigate further, and xrays and a biopsy revealed osteosarcoma – bone cancer. This disease carries a poor prognosis, but Cubba’s attitude and appetite were still good, so we started him on some medication to minimise discomfort from the tumour. A couple of week later, Cubba’s condition deteriorated, prompting vets and keepers to decide that it would be kindest to euthanase him.


Being a zoo vet, you are often an animal’s least favourite person in the zoo. The keepers talked about Cubba’s soft playful side, but whenever I saw Cubba he pinned his ears back, the ground shook as he growled, and if I was standing at the door to his den he would launch himself at me! We have many dangerous animals at the zoo but Cubba was probably the one I would least want to meet in a dark alley.

Cubba was a great ambassador for the Persian leopard, an endangered subspecies of leopard from west Asia, and he will be missed by many. Visit the blog dedicated to Cubba to read memories from the carnivore keepers and other zoo staff.

Dave McLelland, Zoos SA vet

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