Oregon Zoo mourns Borris, one of the world's oldest Amur leopards

Endangered Amur leopard Borris at the Oregon Zoo. © Oregon Zoo / photo by Michael Durham.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon Zoo is mourning the loss of one of the world’s oldest Amur leopards.

Borris was one of the oldest of his extremely rare subspecies. He was humanely euthanized at the Oregon Zoo Tuesday after his health began to decline due to his age, caregivers said.

“With only around 300 Amur leopards left on the entire planet, each passing is keenly felt,” said Amy Cutting, who oversees the zoo’s Amur cat area. “But this one is especially tough. We know that ultimately the pain of losing Borris will pale beside the joy of having had him in our lives. But this one is going to take a while. He was one-of-a-kind.”

Borris was 19 years old and the second-oldest Amur leopard in any facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Recently, as his flexibility began to deteriorate, caregivers had to use a bamboo backscratcher to help him groom himself.

Cutting said she will remember Borris for his “friendly temperament and goofy personality.”

Borris was born May 5, 1999 and came to Portland in 2010 from the Miller Park Zoo in Illinois. In Portland, he joined the zoo’s female leopard, Kia.

Amur leopards are at extreme risk of extinction. Experts believe there are only about 100 still alive in the wild. Accredited zoos are participating in coordinated breeding programs to help preserve the endangered species.

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