Banham Zoo mourns death of beloved female Sri Lankan leopard Sariska
Keepers and staff at Banham Zoo in Norfolk have been left devastated by the death of the female Sri Lankan leopard Sariska on 16 September following a period of illness in recent weeks.
It was very clear at post-mortem that Sariska had a serious heart condition that would have led to her death within a matter of weeks. Further investigation will be carried out to try to ascertain the cause.
Sariska gave birth to two cubs in June which were fathered by the zoo’s male leopard, Mias. One of the cubs sadly died in August.
Gary Batters, Joint Managing Director, Zoological Society of East Anglia, said: “This is so upsetting for the keepers and staff who have cared for Sariska since she arrived at Banham Zoo in 2015. She will be greatly missed by the team here at Banham Zoo and by our visitors.
“Our focus will be on supporting the development of the leopard cub, to ensure he adapts as well as possible to the loss. We have named him Sariask, an anagram of his mother’s name in Sariska’s memory.”
The Zoological Society of East Anglia, the charity which runs Banham Zoo in Norfolk and Africa Alive in Suffolk, is a partner in the European Breeding Programme for the Sri Lankan leopard, which is one of 9 subspecies of leopard.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classify the Sri Lankan leopard as Vulnerable, following their last assessment in October 2019, with under 800 mature individuals left in the wild. As their name suggests, Sri Lankan leopards are native to Sri Lankan and are found in a range of habitats from open savannah to rainforests.
Banham Zoo and Africa Alive reopened to the public in July with new safety measures in place.