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In late 2010, there were a string of suspicious deaths at the San Antonio Zoo, including black leopards, a tiger, a giraffe, and more. Those, as well as proceeding deaths of concern are listed below.

This case is still considered open, as we are seeking answers to the true nature of the causes of these animals’ deaths.

Malaya

Malaya was transferred to the San Antonio Zoo around 1999 from the San Diego Zoo and shortly thereafter gave birth to two cubs. She was paired with the zoo’s male tiger, Berani, but they never successfully bred. Malaya had been under our cursory observation since 2008.

On August 17, 2010, after undergoing anesthesia to be spayed due to a uterine infection, Malaya died from what we believe to be complications due to anesthesia, as big cats are known to not handle anesthesia well. She was 16-years-old.

As Malaya was already weakened by her uterine infection, which was already being treated by antibiotics, it was a high risk to spay her at the time.

The San Antonio Zoo has had issues with tigers and anesthesia in the past, killing a white tiger, Cheytan, during a root canal.

In Malaya’s case, once again, the San Antonio Zoo has shown a lack of transparency by refusing to allow access to the vet records.

Raguno

Raguno was born to Aneh and Sabot at the Akron Zoo in 2001 along with brother, Kavi. The two were transferred to the Topeka Zoo in 2005, and Raguno was paired with the female there.

He was moved again in 2008 to Oklahoma City and had four cubs with Suriya before his arrival at the San Antonio Zoo in 2012.

In August 2013, he had two female cubs, The Royal Ja’Malle and Diana, with Kemala in San Antonio and was then placed off exhibit. We do not know where he was being held, but if you have any information regarding this, please contact us.

He passed away on November 4, 2014, from reported internal bleeding caused by suspected cancer of the spleen. Officials noted that Raguno had recently shown signs of weakness, including occasional off-balance movement.

Gina

In January 2009, Gina and Sam were transferred to the San Antonio Zoo from a rescue facility where they had previously been kept as pets. They had been raised together from a young age, so they were inseparable. Upon their arrival, One World Conservation began cursory observations on the two.

On September 17, 2010, Gina died. She had fallen ill the previous week and had been under intensive treatment for three days prior to her death.

Her cause of death was never released to the public, but an informant came forward and claimed she died of meningitis, an extremely contagious disease.

Sam

After Gina’s death in September, One World Conservation placed Sam on its critical watch list, as two big cats had recently died of suspicious cause.

  • He began displaying stereotypical behavior and appeared lethargic and depressed during the following month.

On October 26, 2010, an undercover informant called us to let us know about a sign that had been put up in the black leopard exhibit, stating that Sam was under veterinary care.

In the following two weeks, Sam never showed up in his exhibit, and the information signs outside were removed. A reliable source confirmed our suspicion that Sam had died.

It is our estimate that Sam died some time between October 31 and November 2, 2010.

The San Antonio Zoo never publically confirmed Sam’s death, and his cause of death is still unknown. It was as if he had never existed.

Herbie

Herbie was born in 1992 at the San Diego Zoo. In 1994, he was transferred to the New York Bronx Zoo before being transferred to the San Antonio Zoo in April 1999. He was paired with Sababu and produced two offspring, Henry and Timu, with her.

Herbie was under our observation since 2008, due to his proximity to Sababu, one of our more critical cases. Until his death, he always appeared healthy and robust and of all the rhinos under our observation, he was of least concern.

On the morning of October 27, 2010, Herbie was found dead in his night quarters. According to reliable sources, he had been eating well and appeared fine on the night of October 26 with no apparent signs of illness.

His cause of death is still unknown. The zoo has not publicly come forth with vet records and refuses to release them.

Gertrude

Gertrude was wild born in South Africa in 1965 and was caught and transferred to the San Antonio Zoo in 1970. She died of chronic kidney failure in December 24, 2012, due to old age. She was one of the five oldest white rhinoceros in North America.

She had three offspring at the San Antonio Zoo.

Prior to 2011, Gertrude was living in the smallest of the rhino exhibits, which was completely inadequate for her size and species. Much like the other rhino exhibits, there was a lack of shade, space, and enrichment, and it did not include a mud wallow, necessary for her species. There was prominent rust throughout her exhibit, her night quarters were antiquated, and the substrata was unnatural and compact. Due to lack of space and shade, Gertrude was often observed as lethargic and unresponsive.

We began cursory observation of Gertrude during Sababu’s observations due to her restricted habitat size and proximity to the black rhinos.

Scatha

Scatha was born sometime around 1998. She arrived in the San Antonio Zoo from the Houston Zoo in 2007.

She laid 11 eggs in 2007 with partner Bubba upon her arrival, one which remained in San Antonio, named Phoenix.

On December 16, 2013, a hot mat shorted because of a problem with a fuse or breaker box, and Scatha, along with two Amazon tree boas, two Solomon skink lizards and a Red Mountain racer snake, all died from smoke inhalation before the fire was put out. It caused at least $100,000 in damage.