Senior bobcat dies at Cosley Zoo in Wheaton
The last of Cosley Zoo's resident bobcats has died after developing complications due to age-related kidney disease.
Valentino, better known as "Val," was euthanized on Christmas Day. The 19-year-old bobcat had been in declining health, officials at the Wheaton zoo said.
Val and another bobcat, Salvatore, the introvert of the pair, had shared their exhibit at Cosley for almost a decade. Sal passed away in 2019 at the age of 17. He also had kidney disease, a common condition in senior cats.
Val endeared himself to zookeepers and visitors with his playful antics. When the California natives experienced their first snowfall, the more reserved Sal sat on his heated rock while Val took a tumble in the white stuff.
"Right from the start, Val's big personality was on display," the zoo said in a statement.
The bobcats were transferred to the zoo in 2012 from a wildlife rehabilitator in California. Found in an attic of a private home, Sal and Val had spent nearly all of their lives at the humane society before coming to Cosley.
The zoo welcomed their arrival with a new exhibit built for the duo. Seamless, stainless steel netting offered prime viewing of the cats, elusive hunters in the wild, and their surroundings, complete with a water feature and climbing logs.
"Because bobcats are typically solitary animals, it was especially exciting for us to discover a pair of cats that needed a home and could be housed together," the zoo's statement said. "Sal and Val settled into their new environment exceptionally quickly, exceeding our wildest expectations."
With their deaths, the bobcat habitat is currently empty.
One of two cat species native to Illinois, bobcats landed on the state's endangered species list in 1977. But moratoriums on hunting and habitat preservation opened the door to a comeback for the creatures. Now bobcats are found statewide.