STONEHAM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Chessie, a female jaguar at the Stone Zoo, died on Wednesday, March 2.
The jaguar was diagnosed with ovarian and uterine cancer in November of 2021, after previously not showing any signs of health issues or abnormal activity, according to Zoo New England. The cancer was in an advanced stage, which led the zoo staff to humanely euthanize Chessie for quality of life reasons.
“Chessie was an incredible ambassador for her species, and we are deeply saddened to share the news of her passing," John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO said in a statement. "She has been with us since her birth and will be greatly missed by all who knew her."
Chessie, who was born at the Stone Zoo on May 31, 2008, was a part of Zoo New England's Jaguar Species Survival Plan. The plan is a national inter-zoom program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to maintain "genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species."
She had been paired with a jaguar named Seymour from the Cincinnati Zoo for breeding, but the pair were unable to reproduce. Researchers then opted for artificial insemination, but during the procedure, veterinarians discovered Chassie's cancer, and the plan was abandoned.
“While this is not the outcome we desired, we are hopeful that one day the samples collected from Seymour can successfully be used to bolster the population of this iconic species,” Linehan said in a statement. “As a conservation organization, we are deeply committed to doing everything we can to preserve and protect the incredible biodiversity on our planet.”
Chessie was 13 years old.