Paso, Cameron Park Zoo’s nearly 18-year-old mountain lion, died last week after battling pneumonia, zoo officials announced Monday.
Paso was born in 2001 and was rescued by the California Fish and Game Service before she was transferred to Cameron Park Zoo with her sister, Robles, in 2003, the zoo stated in a press release.
The sisters were unable to be released back into the wild, making Paso and Robles the first large mammals in the expansion of the Brazos River Country exhibit that opened in 2005.
Although the cause of death is pending a necropsy, zoo officials said Paso died of pneumonia.
Robles has been undergoing care for renal, or kidney failure, but Paso’s death was surprising, said Terri Cox, the zoo’s curator for programs and exhibits.
“Paso and Robles were named from where they were found as cubs in Paso Robles, California,” Cox said. “Their mother was considered a nuisance in Paso Robles and she was shot, leaving her cubs alone. They were taken in by the California Fish and Game Service before they came to us.”
The average lifespan for mountain lions is eight to 10 years old in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity, Cox said.
The zoo has several animals that are considered “elderly,” so staff is focused on providing comfort and health as they age.