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Jacksonville Zoo mourns death of cheetah

Roho came to zoo with brother, Steve, in 2014

Cheetah Roho at the Jacksonville Zoo (Photo by John Reed)
Cheetah Roho at the Jacksonville Zoo (Photo by John Reed)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Keepers at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens are mourning the death of cheetah, Roho, due to ongoing health complications. Roho passed on June 20 during an in-depth examination, the zoo said.

Recently, keepers noticed intermitted lethargy and decreased appetite in the 5-year-old male cheetah. Roho, a diabetic with a history of gastro-intestinal issues, was scheduled for a full examination in the Animal Health Center.

Roho came to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in 2014 with his companion, Steve, from the WILDS, an extension of Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

While Steve and Roho are not litter-mates, they do have the same father and formed a bond referred to as a “coalition,” in which male cheetahs live together.

Roho will be greatly missed by his keepers, who formed a particularly close bond with him through the extra care needed to manage his insulin care. Guests, especially those used to seeing him as they pass by on train, will also miss Roho, as will his brother Steve, zoo officials said.

Initial findings are consistent with necrotizing pancreatitis, an infection within the pancreas that can be challenging to treat. Further examination will be performed to determine if there are any additional health factors that may have contributed to his death, officials said.